What is a solenoid valve?

An solenoid valve is an electric valve used to control the passage of gas (pneumatic systems) or fluids (hydraulic systems). THE opening or closing of the valve is based on electromagnetic impulses from a solenoid a type of electromagnet.

The solenoid works in conjunction with a spring designed to return the valve to its neutral position when the solenoid is de-energized. These types of valves are often used in hard-to-reach locations, in multi-valve systems, and in locations with a hazardous environment.

Solenoid valves offer full opening or closing functions and cannot be used to regulate the flow of gas or fluid, only to allow its passage or not.

There are solenoid valves that can work with alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) and use different voltages and operating cycle times.

Solenoid valve operation

A solenoid is a coil of conductive material whose operation is based on electromagnetic fields.

When an electric current passes through the coil, an electromagnetic field of a certain intensity is generated inside it. A ferrous metal plunger is attracted by magnetic force towards the center of the spool, which provides the necessary movement to actuate the valve.

Once the solenoid is activated, the valve will remain open or closed, depending on the design, until electrical power is cut and the solenoid’s electromagnetic field disappears. At this time, a spring or spring pushes the plunger back to its original position, changing the state of the valve.

The fact that no direct physical manipulation is required makes solenoid valves the best solution for control the entry or exit of fluids and gases in places that are difficult to access or where the environment can be dangerous , such as in places with high temperatures or chemical hazards. In addition, solenoid coils can be covered with flame retardant material to make them safer in hazardous environments.

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An electric solenoid valve can only work as an on/off device and cannot be used to gradually open or close the valve in applications where more precise flow regulation is required.

Depending on the use that will be given to the valve, coils capable of operating continuously or in cycles of a certain duration may be used; being those of continuous work usually more expensive. There are solenoid valves suitable for use in alternating current, from 24 to 600 volts, or for use in direct current, from 12 to 24 volts.

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