Installed Control Valve Characteristics and Its Influence on Surge Pressure in Piping Design

Cheng, David (Fluor Enterprises, Inc.) | Portillo, Roberto (Fluor Enterprises, Inc.)



When designing a piping system, normally the inherent control valve characteristics, e.g. linear or equal percentage valve opening/closing curves, are considered. However, inherent valve curves only consider the control valve as a “bobble”. The characteristics of the valve will change once it is installed with piping connections, meters, equipment, or other valves and fittings. The additional friction loss introduced by piping connections or valve combinations is normally a function of the flow rate instead of staying as constant. This will change the overall opening and closing characteristics of the control valve. It is well known that surge pressure is directly related to valve characteristics. The combination of control valve with other components may create undesirable surge scenarios in operation which is commonly neglected in the design.

This paper examines how the connections of the control valve with other piping components can influence the installed valve characteristics and surge pressure level in valve closings. The focus is on two aspects: how other components such as an ESD valve immediately upstream or downstream can influence the surge behavior of the control valve closing; how the upstream or downstream control valve influences the surge behavior of the ESD or Mainline Block Valve closing. The paper will present how the installed valve characteristics are different from the inherent characteristics and how significant the increase in the pressure surge was developed.

The results and conclusions provided in this paper will serve as a general guideline for valve arrangement and piping design for reducing potential surge pressure in liquid systems.


In piping design the control valves present unique influence to system hydraulics resistance. It is well known that once installed in the piping system, the control valve characteristics (the relationship between valve flow coefficient and valve opening will change) (Sines, 2009, Headley 2003). A so called installed valve coefficient is introduced to describe this behavior. The valve coefficient is normally tested in the shop as a “bobble”.