Check valves are critical to the safe and efficient operation of many facilities. By using field data and various analysis techniques, check valve designs can be optimized to provide maintenance-free operation in addition to low-pressure loss and fast-dynamic performance.
Success in onshore applications provided an opportunity to repurpose highly reliable check valve technology for offshore use. The design was modified by scaling to suit the application, reducing the number of components, reducing sources of component wear, using iterative analysis techniques, such as Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to reduce the pressure loss, and focusing on proper sizing to ensure optimal performance during operation, such as providing an accurate evaluation of opening/closing forces.
Common field issues such as worsening seat leakage rates and inconsistent performance are generally caused by the constant movement of components within a check valve during normal operation, which causes wear and ultimately failure. It is critical to have accurate fluid flow information and size the check valve accordingly. To avoid these common field issues, check valve designs should be selected to ensure no unnecessary movement of internal components during normal operation. With proper attention to detail, check valves can be designed to eliminate field issues while also providing lower pressure loss characteristics and fast-dynamic response.
This paper presents field data from existing applications of the technology, performance data from the analytical methods, and field data from the temporary application in the offshore/subsea industry. This paper also discusses a reliable alternative to ball check valves, which are commonly used in the subsea industry. It provides a better understanding of the check valve design and how specific design details influence performance and reliability.