How Does a Solenoid Valve Operate?

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How Does a Solenoid Valve Operate?
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Overview of Solenoid Valves

A solenoid valve is an electromechanical valve that is controlled by an electric current. The electric current runs through a solenoid, which is a wire coil wrapped around a metallic core. A solenoid creates a controlled magnetic field when an electrical current passes through it. This magnetic field affects the state of the solenoid valve, causing the valve to open or close. Solenoid valves are used to transport gasses or liquids and have a variety of applications, including irrigation, sprinkler systems and industrial uses.

How Does a Solenoid Valve Operate?
Solenoid coil

Mechanics of a Solenoid Valve

The mechanical force in a solenoid valve is the solenoid coil, which converts electrical energy into magnetic energy that is used to modulate the valve. A solenoid valve contains an inlet pipe, which transports gas or liquid to the solenoid valve. The valve consists of a rubber or plastic stopper that is held against the inlet pipe to seal it closed. The front end of the stopper contains a rubber O-ring, which seals the inlet pipe and prevents gas or liquid from entering the solenoid valve. The stopper is held in place by a metallic spring attached to the back end of the stopper. The stopper also is attached to a metallic pin via a metal bar that runs perpendicular from the pin to the stopper. The pin is located near the solenoid coil. When the solenoid coil is activated, the magnetic field draws the pin back, which retracts the stopper and breaks the seal with the inlet pipe, allowing gas or liquid to enter the solenoid valve. When the solenoid coil is deactivated, the force of the spring pushes the stopper back into place against the inlet pipe.

How Does a Solenoid Valve Operate?
A -- Inlet; B -- Stopper; C -- Spring; D -- Metal bar; E -- Solenoid and pin; F -- Outlet

Under Pressure

Solenoid valves are different from pumps in that there is no mechanical device to force the liquid or gas through the valve. As a result, a solenoid valve must have a pressure differential between the outlet pipe and the inlet pipe. Specifically, the inlet pipe must have higher pressure than the outlet pipe in order to force the gas or liquid through the solenoid valve. Equalised pressure within a solenoid valve will prevent a substance from flowing though the valve, regardless of the state of the solenoid and the stopper.

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