A dump valve is a valve that allows for the rapid release of material. Such valves can be fitted for safety in emergencies and for other reasons on a wide variety of devices, from tanker trucks to the engines of cars. Numerous manufacturers produce dump valves for different applications, including custom designs made to specification for special uses. Individuals ordering custom valves can list a number of needed design features that will be used to develop a tool tailored for the job.
When released, a dump valve allows material to flow freely through it at a very rapid rate. Dump valves can be fitted on storage tanks to allow their contents to be released quickly, and they can also be used as a safety feature to relieve pressure or dump a load that is creating a hazard. Aircraft are fitted with dump valves that can be used to release fuel to lower landing weight, and valves are also fitted on the fuel manifold to drain it when the engine is off.
Air locks typically have dump valves that can be used to manage pressure in environments like spaceships and scientific facilities. The valves can be fitted with filters that are designed to trap particulates, and usually operate on a one way basis, allowing air and particles out, but not allowing exterior contaminants in. Such valves are also used to maintain safety in other pressurized systems, such as hydraulics.
Turbocharged cars are fitted with a dump valve to maintain safe levels of pressure in the engine. Air pressure can build up in the engine and when it is not used for energy, the dump valve can activate to allow the air to escape. This valve is also a one way design to ensure that dirt and other materials do not enter the engine when the valve activates.
Dump valves are usually clearly labeled with directions for their use so they can be quickly identified and used when necessary. They are often designed to be simple enough to use so people without formal training can safely activate them, ensuring that in an emergency situation where a technician or trained personnel are not available, a dump valve can still be used to relieve pressure or jettison a load. It is important to follow the directions of trained personnel during emergency situations, unless no one is available to provide guidance in how to respond to an emergency.