3.2 Control Valve Body

Many types of valve bodies are available to achieve specific flow regulation behavior.  The following description addresses the main valve bodies used in the process industries; key features of each body type are presented after the descriptions in Table 5.

To see diagrams of the valve bodies discussed in this section, select this button to be directed to a site on the WWW.  Select Section 6.1 in the reference.

 Globe Valve:  The name "globe" refers to the external shape of the valve, not the internal flow area.   A typical globe valve has a stem that is adjusted linearly (up and down) to change the position of the plug.  As the plug changes, the area for flow between the plug and seat (opening) changes.  Many different seat and plug designs are available to achieve desired relationships between the stem position and flow rate; see the discussion on valve characteristic below.  The standard plug must oppose the pressure drop across the valve, which is acceptable for small pressure drops.  For large pressure drops, a balanced globe valve is used to enable a valve with small force to open and close the plug.

 Ball:  The restriction for this body is a solid ball which has some part of the ball removed to provide an adjustable area for flow.  The ball is rotated to influence the amount of flow.  The example ball valve displayed through the link below has a tunnel through the ball, and the ball is rotated to adjust the fraction of the tunnel opening available for flow.  Other types of ball valves have different sections removed from the ball to give desired properties.

 Butterfly:  The butterfly valve provides a damper that is rotated to adjust the resistance to flow.   This valve provides a small pressure drop for gas flows.

 Diaphragm: The diaphragm valve has one surface which is deformed by the force from the valve stem to vary the resistance to flow.

 Gate:  These valves have a flat barrier that is adjusted to influence the area for flow.  These bodies are used primary for hand-operated valves and valves automated for emergency shutoff.

Table 5.   Summary of Features for Selected Control Valve Bodies

Valve Body
globe (unbalanced)

-large range

-good shutoff

-unbalanced forces

-high pressure loss

globe (balanced)

-high capacity

-large range

-balanced forces

-poor shutoff

-high pressure loss


-high capacity

-tight shutoff

-moderate pressure drop applications

-tends to plug (except segmented ball)


-high capacity

-low pressure loss

-slurry applications

-high torque

-large deadband

-affects flow through limited range (i.e.

-tight shutoff requires special seat material


-slurry applications

-corrosion resistant materials

-short diaphragm life

-limited pressure and temperature

-small range

-tight shutoff -used only with clean fluids