Calculate Flow Coefficient Kv of Solenoid Valve

Flow Coefficient Kv

Definition Kv-value: Amount of flow (m3/hour) of water of 20°C in a valve with a pressure loss of 1 bar.

The amount of flow of a fluid through a (solenoid) valve can easily be calculated with flow coefficient Kv. Please note that for gases (e.g. air) a different formula is used (see correction factor gases below).

The Kv-value expresses the flow rate of water in m3/hour in a valve with a pressure loss of 1 bar and a temperature of 20°C. Pay attention that the Kv-value is expressed in m3/hour, while the kv-value (lowercase!) is expressed in l/min.

To calculate the flow rate the following formula is used:

Flow Coefficient Kv


  • Q = flow rate of liquid (m3/hour)
  • Kv = flow coefficient (m3/hour)
  • SG = Specific Gravity (=1 for water)
  • dp = pressure differential over the valve (bar)

The Kv-value of a valve is determined by a standardized test according to VDI/VDE 2173. For this purpose a test set-up is used, such as shown in the following schematic drawing:

Kv-value of a valve is determined

Cv & Kv Relation :

Sometimes, the Cv value is given instead of the Kv value. The Cv value can be converted to the Kv-value with a conversion factor:

  • Cv = 1.16 Kv
  • Kv = 0.853 Cv

The diagram below is a nice tool to simplify the conversion between the different coefficients. The conversion factor between two coefficients is indicated with arrows.

Cv and Kv Relation of Valve

Kv (with a capital K) expresses the flow rate in m3/hour, kv (lowercase) in l/min.

Valves In Parallel:

If several valves are connected in parallel, the Kv value can be determined simply by adding up all Kv values.

Correction Factor For Gases

When using gases, a different formula for the flow rate should be used. Also, a distinction between subsonic and supersonic flows is made. “Qn” indicates that the formula is valid for standard conditions (20°C).

The flow rate is expressed in Nm3/h (Normal cubic metre per hour).

Correction Factor For Gases


  • dP = pressure loss (bar)
  • Kv = flow coefficient (m3/hour)
  • p1 and p2 are respectively the absolute inlet and outlet pressure (bar)
  • ? = specific gravity at standard conditions (20°C) in kg/m3
  • T = absolute temperature in Kelvin (0K = -273.15°C)


Consider a circuit with a solenoid valve with an inlet pressure (water) of 5 bars. The required flow rate is at least 5 litres per minute. The maximum allowed pressure loss is 1 bar, therefore the outlet pressure is minimally 4 bars. What is the minimum required Kv-value?

minimum required Kv-value

The Kv-value must be at least 0.3.

Also Read: Control Valve Cv Calculation

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