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Improve valve and pump sizing

Understand how flow system
components interact for more
efficient designs
M. Fehr, Federal University at Uberlandia,
Uberlandia, Brazil

tarting from a given piping installation, a control valve and pump will be selected and the correspondence between valve setting and flowrate
will be determined. The procedure is a logical sequel
to the work ofConnell 1 and illustrates the interaction
between pump, valve and pipe. Connell's method is
extended to include the choice of the control valve
and visualization of its operating range. Quality of control can be deduced from the operating diagram.
Introduction. Ever since the publication of Connell's

equations in 1987, the correct prediction of pressure

drop requirements for control valves has been straightforward. Consequently, the correct pump for a flow
controlled piping loop may be specified safely. This
still tells nothing about the type and size of valve to be
used, its opening position required to reach design
operating conditions, and controllability, which is the
correspondence between controller-commanded valve
settings and operating points.
Rules of thumb suggest starting with a valve one
size smaller than the pipe. The chosen valve will
exhibit a different valve coefficient for every opening
position, which is calculated from its characteristic
equation. The resulting pressure drop, however, may
not be determined explicitly. It is a function offlowrate
which, in turn, depends on friction pressure drop elsewhere in the loop.
To predict the loop behavior, it is necessary to iterate until a flowrate is found that makes valve and line
pressure drops add up to exactly the total potential
supplied by the pump for the particular valve position. In case no acceptable position leads to the
required flowrate, a different valve size will have to be
tried. The need for iteration depends on the data and
the required information. If the pump curve and the
open valve operating curve are available, it is possible
to explicitly calculate the valve setting corresponding
to every flowrate. The inverse is not true. To find the
flowrate attained with a particular valve setting asked
for by the controller, iteration is required.

Table 1. Calculation procedure

Step 1
Step 2

Step 3
Step 4
Step 6
Step 7

Determine required pump discharge pressure

Draw operating curve with control valve open, identify
predicted steady-state and maximum flow operating
Select a suitable centrifugal pump
Select a suitable control valve
Determine steady-state valve position and corresponding valve coefficient
Complete operating diagram and verify controllability
Compare valve characteristic to operating relation

Table 2. List of equations


L\PL ~(fL./d) (V2/2g)

line friction pressure drop




!'-.Pv ~ 1.1 [(0,10,) 2-1] (!'J>L + !'-.PE) + 0.05 Po+ !'-.Ps

operating valve pressure drop
CJCvo ~ exp [k (a - 1 00)]


pump discharge pressure

valve coefficient


0 ~ Cv (J'J'v) 05
flowrate across control valve
h ~ (v2/2gC0 ) [(d/d0 ) 4 -1]
orifice plate reading

I'J'a ~(fL./d) (v2/2g)

open control valve friction pressure drop

Fig. 1. A pump and a control valve are to be specified for this flow

Model for calculations. The procedure is defined

in Table 1, and the intervening equations are listed
in Table 2. From the given piping configuration,
the line pressure drop is calculated as a function of
flow velocity from Eq. 1. Connell's two equations are
then applied to estimate the pressure drop to be made


available to the control valve for satisfactory control

(Eqs. 2 and 3). They are solved for pump discharge
pressure and valve pressure drop. This identifies the
design operating point on the "headlflowrate" graph.
The operating curve for an open valve is determined
and drawn. It shows the pressure drop needed in the

loop to overcome friction in all passive elements, the

pressure drop available for flow control and the maximum flow capacity required by design. The pump is
picked from the knowledge of discharge and suction
pressures corresponding to design and extreme

Table 3. Design parameters of pumping loop


Fermented beer
p = 0.99
t = 25'C
!1=9X10-4 Pas
4 in. 540 steel pipe
Inner diameter, 0.10226 m
Equivalent length of pump discharge line, 147.25 m
Level difference from pump to tank, 43.5 m
Relative pipe roughness Eld = 0.00043
Piping loop components:
117.5 m of slraigh1 pipe
1 retention valve, L0 = 7.62 m
3 open gate valves, Le = 2.01 m
6 goo elbows, L 0 = 12.80 m
2 45' elbows, Le = 3.05 m
2 straight Ts, Le = 4.27 m
1 orifice plate
1 globe control valve
Equivalent length of open globe valve, 33.5 m
Orifice plate, dcfd = 0.68 C0 = 0.60
Permanent pressure drop, 54% of reading
Flow transmitter P/1
Input scale, 0 to 4,000 mm w.c.
Output scale, 4 to 20 rnA
Operating conditions as per design:
Back pressure at tank, atmospheric
Pump suction pressure, atmospheric
Flowrate, 75 m3 h-1
Flow velocity, 2.54 m s- 1

Pri=H:l>/0.<>0 ,

Ordinate of pointe (fig. 2): 62.86.m w.c.
Ordinate otpornt D (Fig. 2): 62.86~9;74 =53. 12m w.c.
Also ordinate of point D: 43,5+ 1.09 + 8.53 =53.12 m w.c.

Maximum flow expected, 1.2 X design

Reynolds number, 2.85 x 1 0 5
Fanning friction factor, 0.01 B
Line friction pressure drop, 8.53 m w.c.
Transmitter reading, 2,020 mm w.c.
Permanent pressure drop through orifice plate, 1.09 m w.c.

, tor<Werating curv~ .. . ...

= lJPi.+ilPE+43.5 +1fPf3 + 0.

Table 4. Calculations for steady state

Equivalent length of pump discharge line:
117.5 + 7.62 + 2.01 + 12.80 + 3.05 + 4.27 = 147.25m
Permanent pressure drop through orifice plate:
2.02 x 0.54 = 1.09 m w.c.
Scale reading of orifice plate:
h = (v2/2gC 0) [(d/d0) 4 -1]
h = (2.542/2 X 9.8 X 0.60) [(1/0.68) 4-1] = 2.02 m W.C.
Flow velocity:
(75/3800) I [(rr/4)X0.10226"] = 2.54 m s- 1
Reynolds number:
dpv/11 = 0.10226x 990 x 2.54/9 10_. = 2.85 "10 5
Line friction pressure drop:
M>L = (flefd) (v2/2g)
= (0.018 x147.25/0.10226) (2.542/2 x9.8) = 8.53 m w.c.
Open globe valve friction pressure drop:
M'a = (fl.,ld) (v'/2g)
=0.01 8X33.5/0.1 0226) (2.54 2/2X9.8)



= 1.94 m W.c.

OperatiJlg ciJnles 1 (withoUt control val\le) and 2 (with

generic open control valve) are calculated and draWn.
on .Fig. 2 using Eq. 2. Predicted steady-state (C, 75
m3/h) and maximum (B, 90m3/h) operating points are
identified on Fig. 2. The distance between these two
curves equals tJ.P8 .

Fig. 3. Valve sensitivity in this installation is high.







sure and point D the pressure drop in the loop passive elements. The distance between these two points
represents the calculated pressure drop for the valve.
In step 2, operating curves without valve (curve 1)
and with an open globe valve (curve 2) are drawn. The
maximum expected operating flowrate is at point B
(box 2).
Step 3 overlays the discharge pressure curves of
various possible centrifugal pumps on Fig. 2. Pump b
is chosen as the best candidate (Box 3).
In step 4, a globe control valve one size below pipe
schedule is picked and necessary corrections are made
to the operating diagram. Curve 3 is the operating
curve for this specific valve when totally open (Box
4). The maximum possible flow moves from point B
to point K.
In step 5, valve position for design conditions is
determined. This means moving point C onto the
pump curve atE (Box 5). The valve will operate
73.78% open and will command 48% of friction pressure drop. Eqs. 4 and 5 are sufficient to establish the
pressure profile at design flowrate.
In step 6, the operating diagram is completed with
more operating curves for various valve positions. This
affords an inspection of operating range and controllability (Box 6). The procedure is iterative if it initiates with valve opening, and is direct if it initiates
with flowrate. In the 20% range of design flowrate,
this valve operates with opening positions between
63 and 87%. The maximum flow with the valve open is


97m 3/h. A turn-down ratio to 16 m 3/h may be achieved

with a 25% valve opening. The choice of pump and
valve is considered satisfactory.
Step 7 compares, as a matter of interest, the characteristic valve curve at unit pressure drop (curve 1,
Fig. 3) to the actual control curve for the pumping loop
(curve 2, Fig. 3). Both curves show that in the operating range between 63 and 87% opening, valve sensitivity is high (Box 7 and Fig. 3). It is also apparent
that in the context of the installation, the maximum
valve sensitivity is at somewhat lower opening positions than the theoretical curve would indicate.
Discussion. Connell's equations (Eqs. 2 and 3) use
the loop operating curve without the control valve as
reference. The pressure drop needed for the valve is,
therefore, made up of that required to overcome friction in an open valve and that required to control the
flowrate. This situation is illustrated by the distance
between curves 1 and 2 in Fig. 2. In the initial estimate made with Connell's equations, the valve commanded (62.86- 53.12)/(62.86- 43.5) = 50.3% offriction pressure drop, of which (62.86- 53.12- 1.94)/
(62.86- 43.5) = 40.3% was for control and 1.94/(62.86
- 43.5) = 10.0% for the open valve. Considering curves
1, 3 and 4, the situation at design operating conditions is (65.2- 53.12)/ (65.2- 43.5) = 55.7% for the
valve, of which (65.2- 53.12- 1.56)/ (65.2- 43.5) =
48.5% is for control and 1.56/(65.2- 43.5) = 7.2% for
the open valve.
There are two corrections the calculated design
operating point will suffer. It has to be related to the
chosen valve, and it has to be moved onto the pump
curve. The valve coefficient for the open control valve
differs somewhat from that of a generic open globe
valve. This correction is expressed as the difference
between curves 2 and 3 in Fig. 2.
The maximum expected flowrate that installation
design needs to satisfy has a very economic implication. If an unnecessarily high value is postulated, the
pump selected will produce discharge pressures well

flowrates. Its maximum efficiency should occur at

design flowrate and calculated pressure potential. It
also satisfies the maximum expected flowrate.
Valve specification initiates with a control valve
one size smaller than the pipe. The model will now
adapt the design parameters to the specific valve and
pump selected. The corrected pressure drop across the
specified open valve will furnish a new base curve
from Eq. 7. The pump curve will supply the correct
valve pressure drop at design flowrate. Eq. 5 will give
the corresponding valve coefficient, and Eq. 4 the valve
position. The operating curve for this valve position
is then drawn from Eq. 2. It cuts the pump curve at
design flowrate. Finally, the diagram is completed
with operating curves for other valve positions determined by iteration from Eqs. 5 and 2.

determine operating conditions and to analyze the

controllability. Design parameters are listed in Table
3. Design steady state is calculated in Table 4. Solution
will proceed according to the procedure of Table 1.
Calculations are shown in boxes 1 to 7.
Step 1 consists of solving Connell's equations for
the pump discharge pressure and the required control valve pressure drop (Box 1). This is the total pressure drop in the valve, including friction in the open
valve and pressure drop required for control. Both
points are identified on Fig. 2 over the design flowrate.
Point C shows the calculated pump discharge pres-

Example problem. It is required to specifY a pump and

a control valve for the pumping loop shown in Fig. 1, to

Fig. 2. The distance between points C and D represents the calculated pressure drop for the valve.

"';:ttS.lJZ 1m w.c.
2. Posi1;icln of speCific vatvelo ltlatch open generic

c. "' 75/(1.94}()~"' 53;85 (Eq. 5)

53.85/60 = exp [0.039 (a -100}] (Eq. 4)
a= 97.23% (curve 2, Fig. 2)

Active llP. available for control:

(65.2- 53.12- 1.56)/(65.2- 43.5) = 0.48

or 48% of total friction pressure drop

nP., converges at t'.P.v 25,5

Routine for a "' 50% (controller output), curve 7:
Identical to previous routine, resuHs:
t'.P.v= 21.5
0= 40.0


above the calculated value at design flowrate. This

means that the valve has to absorb all this extra pressure. The result is either an almost closed valve or a
valve very much smaller than the pipe.
In both cases, the economics are unfavorable, as all
the extra power delivered to the pump is dissipated
in the valve without profit. Had the maximum
expected flowrate been given as 100 m 3/h e.g., point B
would have moved to M, pump c would have had to
be chosen instead of pump b. Point E would have
moved toN. At design flowrate, the valve would have
had to dissipate the extra pressure difference between
points Nand E.
The calculation procedure shown in box 6 mimics
the search of an iterative feedback controller for the
setpoint flowrate. On increasing the valve opening,
the operating point moves to the right along the pump
curve (Fig. 2). For the new position, the routine calculates the new valve coefficient from Eq. 4. It then
estimates a valve pressure drop to produce a flowrate
from which line pressure drop may be found. This iteration inner loop terminates when line and valve pressure drops add up to exactly pump discharge pressure. The outer loop for valve coefficient and flowrate,
which is the controller search, continues until the
desired flowrate is obtained.

valve opening, %


orifice coefficient








operating valve coefflcient, m 3 h-

reference valve coefficient at a:::: 100, m 3h- 1m---D.fl
inner pipe diameter, m
orifice diameter, m
Fanning friction factor
acceleration due to gravity, m s-2
flow element scale reading, m w.c.
equivalent pipe length, m
valve constant
pump discharge pressure, m w.c.
pump suction pressure, m w.c.
back pressure at liquid destination, m w.c.
pressure drop across open control valve, m w.c
equipment pressure drop, m w.c.
elevation of liquid destination above pump, m w.c.
line pressure drop due to pipe friction, m w.c.
operating pressure drop across control valve, m w.c.
flowrate m 3h-'
design fl~wrate, m"h-1
maximum expected :flowrate, m 3 h- 1
flow velocity, m s-1
water column
temperature, oc
viscosity, Pa s

Nothing protects your drain or sampling process from clogging

like Strahman Ram-Type Drain and Sampling Valves. Even with
highly viscous fluids and thick sludge. they assure smooth flow
and eliminate costly downtime. When closed, a piston fills
the valve interior and can extend into the vessel to dislodge
sludge and build-up-allowing free flow when open. We

Connell, .J.R., "Realistic control valve pre~<rure drops," Ch~mical En{[inel'ring, Sept. 28.
1987. p. 123

The author
Manfred Fehr is a chemical engineer with accumulated professional experience in 17 countries.
He speaks five languages, has to his credit more
than 100 technical papers and appears in Who's
Who in the World 1998. His PhD is from University Laval, Canada. Dr. Fehr's favorite teaching
subject is process equipment personality, of
.: which, Hydrocarbon Processing has published
three samples (Nov. '82, Nov. '88, Nov. '91). He is presently a professor
and consultant in Brazil.

can customize all valves to meet your needs. Plus, they're

Strahman. Ferocious about protecting your process.

Phone; 973.377.4900

Fax: 973.822-1819
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