A pressure regulator is a valve that automatically cuts off the flow of a liquid or gas at a certain pressure. Regulators are used to allow high-pressure fluid supply lines or tanks to be reduced to safe and/or usable pressures for various applications. Its primary function is to match the flow of gas through the regulator to the demand for gas placed upon the system. If the load flow decreases, then the regulator flow must decrease also. On the other hand, if the load flow increases, then the regulator flow must increase in order to keep the controlled pressure from decreasing due to a shortage of gas in the pressure system.

How it works
A pressure regulator includes a restricting element, a loading element, and a measuring element:

  • The restricting element is a type of valve. It can be a globe valve, butterfly valve, poppet valve, or any other type of valve that is capable of operating as a variable restriction to the flow.
  • The loading element applies the needed force to the restricting element. It can be any number of things such as a weight, a spring, a piston actuator, or more commonly the diaphragm actuator in combination with a spring.
  • The measuring element determines when the inlet flow is equal to the outlet flow. The diaphragm is often used as a measuring element because it can also serve as a combine element.

The Guide
Swagelok Northern California has released a new guide to help companies find the right pressure reducing regulator for their fluid systems. The free guide, titled “Selection & Sizing of Pressure Reducing Regulators” draws on the company’s expertise as a Swagelok sales and service center serving businesses in Northern California and north-western Nevada.

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The guide looks at the parts of a regulator and how they work together, and some of the problems that can “creep” up when a regulator is put into conditions it was never intended to handle. The guide then explains the key element in sizing: the flow curve. These are graphs that show how each model of regulator is designed to perform under specific combinations of flow and pressure.

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The free guide is available for download at the Swagelok Northern California website.

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