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What is a Solenoid Valve?

By John Sunshine
Updated May 17, 2024
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A solenoid is an electromechanical device which allows for an electrical device to control the flow of a gas or liquid. The electrical device causes a current to flow through a coil located on the solenoid valve. This current flow in turn results in a magnetic field which causes the displacement of a metal actuator.

The actuator is mechanically linked to a mechanical valve inside the solenoid valve. The valve then changes state, either opening or closing to allow a liquid or gas to either flow through or be blocked by valve. A spring is used to return the actuator and valve back to their resting state when the current flow is removed.

These devices come in various configurations and sizes. Solenoid valves can be normally open, normally closed, or a two way valve. A normally open one allows a liquid or gas to flow through unless a current is applied. A normally closed valve works in the opposite manner. A two way version has three ports; one port is common, one is normally open and the third is normally closed.

Factory automation makes frequent use of solenoid valves. A computer device running a factory automation program to fill a container with some liquid can send a signal to the solenoid valve to open, allowing the container to fill, and then remove the signal to close valve and stop the flow of liquid until the next container is in place. A gripper for grasping items on a robot is frequently an air controlled device. A solenoid valve can be used to allow air pressure to close the gripper, and a second valve can be used to open the gripper. If a two way valve is used, two separate valves are not needed in this application.

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Discussion Comments

By anon245556 — On Feb 05, 2012

I want to use a solenoid valve in a compressed air engine. Should I go with two solenoid valves for intake and outtake or a single solenoid valve will serve both applications?

By anon227762 — On Nov 06, 2011

Post 3: Direct solenoid valves are available up to 2" size. If the header is > 2" you have to consider rotary solenoids, which are costlier.

By anon214545 — On Sep 15, 2011

which solenoid valves should I use for a musical fountain?

By anon179935 — On May 25, 2011

i want to make a solenoid valve. how can i make it?

By orora — On May 18, 2011

recently a solenoid failed to magnetize at our factory but after 12 hours worked very well mysteriously. what could have been the problem? all the others worked well with the same plug-in power (24v,wy-995).

By anon129635 — On Nov 24, 2010

I'm an engineering student. my final year project is musical fountain. somebody told me a solenoid valve is a must for it. is it true? where can i buy it? how much?

I'm nikhilesh from amravati.

By anon109963 — On Sep 09, 2010

I am looking for two solenoid valves, Maker's Ref: 02YLS 126250E RPB, Coil: 220-230V, 50/60Hz., 125726 W2YLS

By anon87916 — On Jun 02, 2010

i am looking for a three-way solenoid valve for hot water. The temp is 110'C pneumatic controlled.

By anon81178 — On Apr 30, 2010

I am looking for solenoid valve normally close 110AC.

i have a cold water tank and they are both on the same header! but only one tanks kept refilling! could i fit a solenoid to let one work at a time?

By anon66509 — On Feb 20, 2010

I am looking for solenoid valve normally close 110AC.

By anon15103 — On Jul 01, 2008

i have to cold water tank and they are both on the same header! but only one tanks kept refilling! could i fit a solenoid to let one work at a time?

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