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Will refrigeration system valves cavitate?

January 10,2024

In the refrigeration system, valves are a vital component, they play a role in regulating the flow and pressure of the fluid medium. However, due to the special working conditions of the refrigeration system, the valve is susceptible to cavitation. Cavitation not only reduces the service life of the valve, but may also lead to system performance degradation or even failure. Therefore, understanding the causes and elimination methods of valve cavitation is crucial to maintaining the stable operation of the refrigeration system.


First, let’s understand what cavitation is. 

Cavitation refers to the formation of a local vacuum when the medium flows at high speed. When the medium returns to the high-pressure area again, instantaneous impact and collapse occur. In the refrigeration system, the rapid decompression of the liquid medium after being adjusted by the valve will cause cavitation. Cavitation can cause damage to the valve's internal surfaces, ultimately leading to valve failure.

So, what is the reason for cavitation of refrigeration system valves? The main points are as follows:

High-speed flow: 

When the flow rate of the medium in the refrigeration system is too fast, the fluid will produce violent impact force when passing through the valve, causing partial vacuum and impact collapse, causing cavitation. For example, in a refrigeration system, when the liquid refrigerant flows rapidly due to the valve opening being too large, cavitation is likely to occur.

Liquid evaporation: 

In the refrigeration system, there is a situation where the liquid refrigerant suddenly decompresses from a high-pressure area to a low-pressure area. At this time, the liquid refrigerant will quickly evaporate, forming bubbles, and when the bubbles burst, a shock wave will be generated, causing the valve to be subject to cavitation. Influence.

Improper valve design: 

If the valve design is unreasonable, for example, there are sharp edges or too small channels inside the valve, it will increase the flow rate and pressure difference of the fluid, thereby aggravating cavitation.

Medium characteristics: 

The refrigerant used in the refrigeration system has some special chemical properties, such as Freon, ammonia, etc. These media are prone to cavitation during high-speed flow and decompression.

Improper selection of valve materials: 

If the selected valve material cannot withstand the corrosion of special media in the refrigeration system or the high-temperature environment, the valve surface may be corroded and worn, thereby increasing the risk of cavitation.

Improper operation and maintenance: 

The operator improperly adjusts the valve opening or fails to perform maintenance on time, such as cleaning the sediments and impurities inside the valve, which may lead to valve failure and cavitation.

In addition to the above scenarios, there are other factors that may also cause valve cavitation in the refrigeration system, such as unreasonable pipeline layout and the presence of solid particles in the fluid medium. Therefore, when designing, selecting and maintaining refrigeration system valves, it is necessary to comprehensively consider these factors and take corresponding measures to reduce the occurrence of cavitation and ensure the stable operation of the refrigeration system.


HONGSEN DHV Motorized Regulating Valve Designed For Refrigeration System

Next, let’s discuss how to eliminate cavitation problems in refrigeration system valves.

Optimize valve design: 

For cavitation problems, the impact force when the medium flows can be reduced by optimizing the design of the valve. For example, a valve with a multi-stage pressure reduction design can slow down the flow rate of liquid refrigerant and reduce the impact force, thereby reducing the occurrence of cavitation.

Choose the appropriate valve material: 

Choosing corrosion-resistant and cavitation-resistant materials to manufacture valves, such as engineering plastics, stainless steel, etc., can effectively reduce the occurrence of cavitation. For example, in marine engineering, due to the presence of a large amount of salt and corrosive substances in seawater, the material selection of valves is crucial to avoid cavitation problems caused by corrosion.

Control flow rate: 

By rationally designing the pipeline structure and controlling the flow rate of the medium, the impact force of the medium is reduced and the risk of cavitation is reduced. For example, in the air conditioning and refrigeration system of high-speed railway trains, rational design of pipelines and the use of flow rate control devices can effectively reduce the occurrence of cavitation.

Use cavitation inhibitors: 

Adding appropriate cavitation inhibitors to the refrigeration system can effectively reduce the occurrence of cavitation and increase the service life of the valve. For example, in the petrochemical industry, valves are protected from cavitation by adding specialized cavitation inhibitors.

Regular maintenance and inspection: 

Regularly inspect and maintain the valves of the refrigeration system, promptly clean the sediments and impurities inside the valves, and maintain the normal operation of the valves. For example, in the operation of large refrigeration equipment, regular maintenance inspections are an important part of ensuring long-term and stable operation of valves.


In short, the cavitation problem of refrigeration system valves is a common problem in the refrigeration industry. However, through reasonable design and correct maintenance methods, it can effectively reduce the occurrence of cavitation, extend the service life of the valve, and ensure the safe and stable operation of the refrigeration system. . I hope the content of this article can be helpful to you and give you a clearer understanding and solution to the cavitation problem of refrigeration system valves.

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