An isolation valve is a valve in a fluid handling system that stops the flow of process media to a given location, usually for maintenance or safety purposes. They can also be used to provide flow logic (selecting one flow path versus another), and to connect external equipment to a system. A valve is classified as an isolation valve because of its intended function in a system, not because of the architecture of the valve itself. Therefore, many different types of valves can be classified as isolation valves.
To easily understand the concept of an isolation valve, one can think of the valves under a kitchen or bathroom sink in a typical household. These valves are normally left open so that the user can control the flow of water with the spigot above the sink, and does not need to reach under the counter to start or stop the water flow. However, if the spigot needs to be replaced (i.e. maintenance needs to take place on the system), the isolation valves are shut to stop the flow of water when the spigot is removed. In this system, the isolation valves and the spigot may even be the same type of valve. However, due to their function they are classified as the isolation valves and, in the case of the spigot, the control valves.
- Firewater control
- Pipeline safety systems
- Residential plumbing systems (both water and gas)
- Nuclear reactors
- Oil and gas wells
- Nesbitt, Brian. Handbook of Valves and Actuators. p. 82.
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- Joyce, Michael A. (2012). Residential Construction Academy - Plumbing, Second Edition. Delmar, Cengage Learning. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-111-30777-6.
- "Information Notice No. 85-71: CONTAINMENT INTEGRATED LEAK RATE TESTS". United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
- McAleese, Stuart (2000). Operational aspects of oil and gas well testing. Elsevier. p. 69. ISBN 0-444-50311-0.
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