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Compressed Air Encyclopedia

Check Valves
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The primary function of a check valve is to allow air to flow in one direction while restricting flow in the opposite direction.

The primary function of a check valve is to allow air to flow in one direction while restricting flow in the opposite direction. It is essentially a 2-way, 2-position, normally closed valve.

A ball-check valve consists of a spring-loaded ball that sits on a seat and covers the flow passage. If air pressure is applied above the ball, the pressure aids the spring in keeping the ball firmly against the seat. When air is applied to the underside of the ball, the pressure acts to push the ball off the seat and allows the air to flow through the valve.

Another design functions similarly to the ball-check but uses a poppet instead of a ball. A third design uses a flapper or swing-valve that opens up with flow in one direction, and closes tightly when flow is reversed.

Check valves are also used in hydraulics, process, and plumbing systems. They are sometimes referred to as backflow preventers.

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