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What Is a Bidirectional Valve?


In this quick video, Mike Kettering, Clippard's Electronic Valves Product Manager, discusses what a bidirectional valve is and how it might be beneficial for your application.

Video filmed at Clippard in Cincinnati, Ohio


Hi, I’m Mike Kettering, Product Manager for Electronic Valves at Clippard. What is a bidirectional valve, and why would I want one? A bidirectional valve is simply a valve that’s rated to function from inlet to outlet, or outlet to inlet. It’s like you don’t even need to label “outlet” or “inlet.” The main benefit of using a bidirectional valve is the ability to control flows and pressures in both directions.

All pneumatic applications with valves are dynamic. Confidence that your valve will function in any state within the system pressures is important. Since the valve functions in both directions, the inlet and the outlet can be swapped with little to no effect on the application. This can be a key feature in isolating pressures.

Let me give you an example. My fingers can be a pinch valve… When I blew this balloon up, I had to open my fingers—the pinch valve—to put air into the balloon. With my fingers closed, the air is trapped in the balloon. When I open my fingers, the air can come out. A pinch valve is bidirectional.

Clippard offers bidirectional valves in the EV and ES series which utilize Clippard’s spectacular spider technology. These valves can have vacuum or pressure applied to any of the ports.

In some applications, bidirectional valves may be required for safety reasons. It is very common for bidirectional valves to be required any time that pressure is isolated. For example, a fill and bleed application, or an electronic pressure regulator.

If a typical directional control valve were used in one of these applications, it could allow that pressure to backfeed towards the supply, which could result in a leak or reduced flow rate.

I hope this video is helpful. Thanks for watching. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, and have a great day.