Control Valve Erosion: Why it happens and what to do about it

High Pressure Control Valves are some of the most versatile valves on the market.

They can be used in numerous applications to provide control of oil and gas production processes, including in pressure reducing, back pressure, and dump valve applications.

In this video, Mark examines two valves that have experienced significant damage during operation. He explains what happened and identifies solutions to prevent or slow future damage.

High Pressure Control Valve Erosion (Stem Guided)

During both flowback and normal production, frac sand is present in fluid coming from the well.  

The first valve we examine in the video is a stem-guided control valve experiencing a 320-pound pressure drop. Though it’s a 2000-pound body, it lasted less than a week in normal operation

As the flow came through the body, the sand quickly eroded the metal, eventually boring a hole through the bottom.  

That’s AN INCH of solid steel being worn away from tiny particles of sand coming at high pressure!  

Also, notice the wear change on the threads as the fluid left the body.  

The choke nipple on the other side originally had a 3/8” bore and the damage the erosive fluid did here is obvious.  

Damage like this is obviously coming from frac sand flowing through the valve.  

How to Limit Valve Erosion (Stem Guided)

If you encounter issues like this, we recommend the following solutions: 

First, replace this through-body High Pressure Control Valve with an angle-body version. If you want even more protection against erosion like this, you can also change over to a carbide or zirconia trim.   

High Pressure Control Valve Erosion (Cage Guided)

The second product we examine in the video is a cage-guided High Pressure Control Valve. This may also be referred to piston-balanced 

The flow through a cage guided valve goes under the seat instead of over the seat. That will deposit sand on the top ledge when the valve strokes, the sand will wedge in between the cage and plug. This will cause scoring, and damage to the plug elastomers.  

How to Limit Valve Erosion (Cage Guided)

If you encounter this issue with your cage-guided valve, we recommend ordering the PH hardened cage trim.

You could also order a zirconia seat for the valve.  

To speak with an expert about your production challenges, contact your local Kimray store or authorized distributor.  


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Mark Anderson serves as a Product and Applications Trainer at Kimray.