Valves have been critical to instrument partnerships as well as service functionalities. Different civilizations used these devices to regulate the circulation of the fluid in urban and rural areas.
However, faced with climatic problems such as rains or overflows and without a mechanical device, people found a way to regulate the water through wood or stones, whose materials were barriers to prevent or divert circulation
This case can be seen as an antecedent to the first valves or, failing that, as the first tools that carried out the functionality of a valve.
Egypt and the Roman Empire
Ancient Egypt was characterized by its great advances in science and technology, including its contributions in air and water for irrigation and supply systems. It was discovered that some of the tombs of the pharaohs contained check valves and non-return or wooden check that drained the water in the interiors. Likewise, in terms of pneumatic pressure, in 1500 A.C. They were the first to use the bellows, a mechanical compressor that contains and expels air.
In terms of engineering, the Roman Empire was one of the first to introduce water systems that, through aqueducts, transported water from rivers and springs to cities. In the constructions the use of male valves made of bronze material is registered. They were composed of a drilled stem and a cam (mechanical element that allows a linear movement) to be able to rotate the stem.
The development of hydraulic systems, channels and valves had a great momentum during the renaissance with the birth of hydraulic engineering.
At this time Leonardo Da Vinci carried out important investigations that were protected in his diary. In the archives there are designs of check valves and pneumatic pumps, in which the study of the pressure and regulation of fluids is observed. His sketches allow us to identify that the painter’s valves were very similar to how we know them today.
In 1712 Thomas Newcomen invented the heat engine that worked at low pressures and included a piston and a cylinder for the purpose of driving the piston forward. Later he added a simple iron check valve to regulate the flow of steam to the piston, the process of which is now identified as the throttle valve.
For his part, James Watt improved Newcomen’s invention and presented the first double- acting engine, with a faster and more practical process for the vapors where it is distributed on both sides of the cylinder. Watt’s input drove the rotary motion, the pressure gauge, as well as the raising and lowering of the piston rod.
From the 19th Century to Today
In the 19th century, oil production allowed the development of the internal combustion engine to process energy to carry out tasks and processes that are still essential today. Control and globe valves were used precisely to make some of these engines work, and throughout the devices were important for chemical and energy applications.
Currently valves are manufactured on a large scale throughout the world, they are indispensable for everyday and industrial services. Thanks to the wide variety of valves that exist, they can be applied for specific industrial processes, with different sizes, materials and models.