If your facility works with a gas or liquid, you want to know that this gas or liquid is pure. Contamination or corrosion can cause serious problems, and this is particularly true within a high purity system where the threshold is even higher. Sherwood Valve products are designed with this in mind.
Read on to learn more as we explore this topic in more detail. We will examine what makes high purity Sherwood oxygen valves and other Sherwood products so important, and how they guarantee extreme purity levels within your system.
Understanding High Purity Systems
High purity gases are gases with no contamination or impurity whatsoever. The mixture of molecules in the gas contains only those that make up the compound or elemental gas itself, so there are no additions. For example, if your facility were processing neon gas for use in the manufacturing of lighting, this would need to be pure. There is no tolerance for environmental oxygen, nitrogen or carbon dioxide leaking in.
The system needs to be structured in such a way that this level of purity is maintained. All the components must be chosen and engineered to prevent any kind of contamination during the process and storage.
Setting High Purity Systems Apart
We’ve touched on “tolerance” above, and this is important. All systems for transporting and storing of gases of all kinds are focused on purity. No facility manager wants gases leaking into and out of the mixture, regardless of the gas’s purpose. In a high purity system, however, the tolerance for impurity is much lower.
We can measure the purity of gases in different ways. One of the most common is to use a purity percentage. So, if a gas is 99% pure, this means the gas makes up 99% of the molecules in the system, while contaminants make up the remaining 1%. A 99% purity rating would not be considered high purity. 99.9999% is a better target for teams in search of high purity gases.
This percentage may be translated to a specific rating for easy analysis — for instance, an N-rating. A 99% purity level might translate to an N-rating of N2.0, while 99.9% might be N3.0. For more precise ratings, decimalization might be used – N4.8 for 99.998%, for example.
Other scales might involve mols or parts per million. A mol is used for measuring volumes of tiny particles, such as atoms and molecules. The modern definition of a mol is 6.02214076 × 1023 of any given particle. This measure must be relative to the total mass of the mixture to demonstrate purity. Parts per million – or PPM – is a simpler representation, and merely shows how many parts of the gas there are per million parts of the total mixture.
These measurements can be used to set a tolerance level for the purity of the gas. This tolerance level will be very high for high purity systems, and only gases that meet this standard will be acceptable. Thus, facilities that handle these gases need to guarantee a certain level of purity within their systems.
Why High Purity Systems Matter
High purity systems are crucial for a number of reasons. Here are a few of the most important:
- Countless industries rely on high purity gases
We’ve mentioned the lighting manufacturing industry above, but many other industries utilize high purity gases. To put it simply, the world needs these highly pure gases. Sherwood Valve provides high purity valves to clients in sectors as diverse as pharmaceutical production, food and beverage manufacture, and direct medical care provision.
- Impure gases can be seriously unsafe
In the above example, neon is used because it is an inert and non-reactive gas which will not burn. If flammable oxygen leaks into the gas mixture, the whole mix becomes flammable, translating into a serious health hazard. Contaminations can cause health hazards in other ways too, potentially poisoning individuals that come into contact with impure gases.
- Impure gases add uncertainty
Facility managers need to be aware of every aspect of their operations to adequately plan for the future. If there is contamination in the gases they are using, this adds an element of uncertainty. Managers do not know how long they can expect their system components and other pieces of hardware to last, and they cannot accurately predict operational costs in the short, medium and long terms.
How Sherwood Valves Guarantee Purity
Sherwood Valve products are designed not only to help facility managers and business owners achieve this level of purity, but also to actively guarantee it. This is one of several factors that have pushed Sherwood Valve to the very forefront of the global gas and liquid valve market. Here’s how Sherwood Valve products work in high purity systems:
- Chemically inert
Sherwood valves are designed to be chemically inert — meaning they do not react with the gases and liquids they interact with. For example, a valve rated for handling highly pure forms of oxygen will not react with this oxygen load, so there will be no internal contamination of the gas.
- Corrosion resistant
Sherwood valves are built to avoid corrosion of all kinds. While chemical reactions within the system are a form of corrosion, there are other aspects to be aware of. Chemical spillages outside of the system can also corrode and damage valves externally, so high purity valves must also resist this external corrosion. Sherwood Valve products fit the bill in this regard.
- High levels of control for personnel
The valve products in the Sherwood range feature built-in components to support manual control where required. This means the system can be quickly isolated and shut down in the event of contamination – a useful additional line of defense.
- A wide variety of products
“High purity” is a category of valves, rather than a specific valve type. Different forms of specialty gases and liquids will need their own specially rated valves. The Sherwood range of valves is diverse, so facility managers and business owners can find the right valves for their applications and use cases.