valve, device for controlling the flow of fluids (liquids and gases). Valves vary in construction and size depending upon their function. Some are classified according to their method of operation or design, e.g., butterfly, gate, globe, lift, needle, piston, and slide valves. Valves are also named for the functions they perform, e.g., check valve (which permits flow in one direction only) and cutoff, bypass, exhaust, intake, safety (see safety valve), and throttle valves. Valves are operated automatically, by hand, or by special mechanism. Valves are employed in the carburetor, diesel engine, internal-combustion engine, pump, and steam engine. In Great Britain an electron tube may be referred to as a valve. In anatomy and physiology the term valve includes the flaps of tissue that help to control the direction of the flow of blood in the heart.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.