Diaphragm valves use a flexible sheet pressed close to the edge of a solid dam to narrow the flow path for fluid. Their operation is not unlike controlling the flow of water through a flexible hose by pinching the hose. These valves are well suited for flows containing solid particulate matter such as slurries, although precise throttling may be difficult to achieve due to the elasticity of the diaphragm.
The photograph shows a diaphragm valve actuated by an electric motor, used to control the flow of treated sewage:
The following photograph shows a hand-actuated diaphragm valve, the external shape of the valve body revealing the “dam” structure against which the flexible diaphragm is pressed to create a leak-tight seal when shut:
Some diaphragm valves are pneumatically actuated, using the force of compressed air on one side of the diaphragm to press it against the dam (on the other side) to shut off flow.
This next example is of a small air-actuated diaphragm valve, controlling the flow of water through a 1-inch pipe:
The actuating air for this particular diaphragm valve comes through an electric solenoid valve. The solenoid valve in this photograph has a brass body and a green-painted solenoid coil.
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