​T-Port And L-Port 3 Way Ball Valves: Which Is More Available
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​T-Port And L-Port 3 Way Ball Valves: Which Is More Available

T-Port And L-Port 3 Way Ball Valves: Which Is More Available
L-port 3 way ball valves are the first choice by many application engineers when selecting a multiport valve, but are they the best choice for your application? The basic difference between an L-Port and a T-port ball valve: The L-port ball is drilled from two different sides and the drilling resembles the shape of an L. With an L-port valve, the middle port is the common port, and with T-port valve, one of the side ports is usually the common port. But this assumes you want to use a T-port to divert as you would an L-port valve.
Common applications for a L-port ball valve:
1. diverting a flow from one source tank to another source tank
2. diverting a flow from one source, like switching between pump #1 and pump #2
3. diverting from free cooling to using a chiller due to seasonal demand
4. diverting a flow to one storage tank to another storage tank
Common applications for a T-port ball:
1. the applications are basically the same, but you can flow straight thru the valve in position #1 and have less pressure loss and then divert in another direction in position #2
2. when you want to choose between using one paint sprayer or both paint sprayers at the same time (all three ports connected)
3. piping arrangement suggests that the end port should be the common port
4. replacement for lubricated T-port plug valve in tank farms
Note: Although there are both side entry and bottom entry 3 way ball valves, we are focusing on side entry ball valves for this discussion. Commercial Bottom Entry 3way valves can be used for mixing or diverting in temperature control loops. Industrial Bottom Entry 3way ball valves can have a center off position, so no mixing occurs. With Side Entry 3way ball valves, there is always some mixing when switching positions. The capacity of the valve is restricted during the changeover process.
Some reasons to consider a T-port 3 way ball valve are: port and piping arrangement, flow coefficient and pressure drop and valve function.
Port and piping arrangement - sometimes it is easier to use a T-port valve instead of an L-port valve in an instance where the piping lines up better. You can use a T-port valve can replace an L-port in almost any instance. For diverter service, the piping arrangement will be different as with an L-port valve, the center port will be the common port. With a T-port ball valve, one of the side ports will be the common port.
Valve function - for general diverter service, L-port ball valves are often used. If you want maximum flow in one direction, an L-port valve won't help you as the flow will have to turn a corner in both valve positions. With a T-port ball valve you can have straight through flow in one position and turn the corner in the other direction or diverted flow. You might want to have straight through flow when feeding water spray heads for keeping coal dust down in position one and use the divert port to drain the excess water from the spray heads in position two. With a T-port ball valve you can have flow to one port or paint gun in position one and flow to 2 paint guns in position two as all 3 ports can be connected. This cannot be accomplished with an L-port valve.
Both L-port and T-port ball valves have their place. L-port valves are more commonly used and are more available. The T-port has less pressure drop straight through the valve, whereas an L-port will have to turn a corner and the pressure drop is higher. T-port valves can give more versatility than L-port valves for some applications. Economy 2 seat 3way ball valves are usually only available in L port configuration as they are less expensive to manufacture.

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