Poppet vs. Plunger: The Great Descale Valve Debate

Posted March 28, 2017

plunger vs poppet.jpgWhen it comes to descale valves, one of the biggest questions is which type to use: poppet or plunger. While either can be used in most systems, there are situations to choose one over the other. We’ll examine what considerations to keep in mind when choosing, when to use each, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

The main difference between the two is the method in which the valve functions. In a poppet valve, a cone- or ball-shaped plug is held in place on the valve seat by a bias spring or hydraulic piston. When the plug is moved, fluid can flow through the valve. Think of it like a cork that is placed in the opening to cut off the flow.

A plunger valve is like a piston and rod in which the rod moves in and out of the hydraulic cylinder. A hollow rod with radial ports moves back and forth with the position of the ports controlling the flow of the liquid. The rod seal keeps the fluid from leaking out.

System Considerations

Some of the main considerations when deciding on which style of valve to use include:

  • Directional control system vs. descaling system
  • Cleaner system vs. dirtier system

Because intensification issues with directional control applications can be harder for plunger valves to handle, poppet valves are the better choice. Meanwhile, due to how dirty the water in a descaling system can be, plunger valves win out here. They are better able to stand up to the contaminants.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Both the poppet and plunger valves have advantages and disadvantages that you should keep in mind:

Poppet Valves:

  • Advantage: In a directional control system, the poppet valves can have integral built-in flow controls, so you don’t need to have separate controls built into the valve.
  • Disadvantage: Most poppet valves have metal seats that can be more prone to leakage than the soft seals used in plunger valves.

Plunger Valves:

  • Advantages: Plunger valves have a zero-leakage design for a directional control system. With its overall durability, the plunger valve has a longer field life with fewer maintenance needs in a descaling system.
  • Disadvantage: There can be intensification issues in directional control systems.

The Longest Lasting Poppet and Plunger Valves

Whichever valve best meets your needs, Hunt Valve offers the longest lasting poppet and plunger valves available. Their innovative Ceramic Proportional Poppet Valve incorporates electro-mechanical actuation to control the poppet speed and position to eliminate water hammer. This valve and their state-of-the-art Mega-Flo C Plunger Valve use the latest ceramic technology in key components. The ceramic materials are harder and more durable than steel.

While these guidelines can get you on the right track to choosing a valve style, Hunt Valve has decades of experience to help you determine the right materials to use based on your specific system and situation. We’re Experts in Extreme Engineering, and we can create solutions for your environment. Contact us or request a quote to discuss how we can save you time and money.

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