Operating Mechanism of Diaphragm Construction

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Operating Mechanism of Diaphragm Construction
The operating mechanism of a diaphragm valve is not exposed to the media within the pipeline. Sticky or viscous fluids cannot get into the bonnet to interfere with the operating mechanism. Many fluids that would clog, corrode, or gum up the working parts of most other types of valves will pass through a diaphragm valve without causing problems. Conversely, lubricants used for the operating mechanism cannot be allowed to contaminate the fluid being handled. There are no packing glands to maintain and no possibility of stem leakage. There is a wide choice of available diaphragm materials. Diaphragm life depends upon the nature of the material handled, temperature, pressure, and frequency of operation.

Some elastomeric diaphragm materials may be unique in their excellent resistance to certain chemicals at high temperatures. However, the mechanical properties of any elastomeric material will be lowered at the higher temperature with possible destruction of the diaphragm at high pressure. Consequently, the manufacturer should be consulted when they are used in elevated temperature applications.

All elastomeric materials operate best below 150°F. Some will function at higher temperatures. Viton, for example, is noted for its excellent chemical resistance and stability at high temperatures. However, when fabricated into a diaphragm, Viton is subject to lowered tensile strength just as any other elastomeric material would be at elevated temperatures. Fabric bonding strength is also lowered at elevated temperatures, and in the case of Viton, temperatures may be reached where the bond strength could become critical.

Fluid concentrations is also a consideration for diaphragm selection. Many of the diaphragm materials exhibit satisfactory corrosion resistance to certain corrodents up to a specific concentration and/or temperature. The elastomer may also have a maximum temperature limitation based on mechanical properties which could be in excess of the allowable operating temperature depending upon its corrosion resistance. This should be checked from a corrosion table.