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What Is a 2-Way Solenoid?

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  • Written By: Lakshmi Sandhana
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A 2-way solenoid is a type of electro-mechanically operated valve that allows air or liquid to flow through when it is electrically activated or deactivated. A solenoid valve in general controls the flow of gas or liquid in a controlled manner and is used in a variety of industries, such as energy, gas, process, and medical. There are many different types of solenoid valves, which are classified according to the number of connections and valve orifices. A 2-way solenoid valve has only one orifice and allows media to flow through its single outlet and inlet ports.

Utilized in a number of applications, such as in air cannons, sprinklers, air blasters, and industrial applications, 2-way solenoid valves work through pressure differentials between both the inlet and outlet. The solenoid consists of a coil of wire that is firmly bound around a metallic core. The coil modulates the valve by converting electrical energy into magnetic energy — no mechanical gadget forces the liquid or gaseous media through the valve. When power flows through the solenoid, it creates a magnetic field that affects the valve, causing it to either open or close. It can be considered to be either normally open or normally closed.

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The major components in a 2-way solenoid consist of a stopper, spring, solenoid, and metal bar. The gas or fluid enters the solenoid through the inlet port, which is typically closed with the aid of the stopper. The stopper seals the valve effectively and is controlled via a metallic spring. The spring is attached to a metal bar with a pin that is close to the solenoid. When power passes through the coil, the resulting magnetic field pulls the pin, which draws the stopper back and allows the media to enter the valve.

When the power is shut off, the stopper falls back into place, sealing the inlet again. This type of solenoid valve contains stoppers at either end of the valve, allowing both the inlet and outlet ports to be interchangeable — the media can enter or exit the 2-way solenoid from either port. The pressure difference between the inlet and the outlet port is critical to the flow of the media through the valve. Typically, the inlet port has a higher pressure; equal pressure between the ports stops the flow of the substances. The pressure difference can be easily controlled, and this controls the direction of the media flow.

One of the advantages of using 2-way solenoids is their very low electricity consumption. There's less of a power drain due to the coil in the solenoid having a low wattage. The mechanical construction is compact and economical, and the valve has a leak-proof internal structure when manufactured properly. Technicians use it to control the flow of hot water, low pressure steam, air, and noncorrosive fluids. Under good environmental conditions, a 2-way solenoid has a long life, allowing a high flow capacity, and deals well with demanding gas or fluid control applications.

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