Spectrum Specialty Valves’ Cryogenic Cam Butterfly Valve Wins SBIR Grant

Last year, C-Suite Services dba Spectrum Specialty Valves (CSA CSM) won a NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for their cryogenic cam butterfly valve, beginning a lengthy research, development and production process. The three-phase NASA SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs fund the research, development and demonstration of innovative technologies that fulfill NASA needs as described in the annual “Solicitations” and have significant potential for successful commercialization.

The innovative cryogenic cam butterfly valve (CCV) can effectively operate across a wide range of temperatures, seal better than valves currently available on the market at those temperatures and easily meet the demanding material requirements of a liquid oxygen (LOX) system. The CCV was designed to replace obsolete Royal/Hadley valves, which have been used at NASA’s Stennis Space Center (SSC) since the 1960s as isolating valves in cryogenic fluid systems and have become costly to repair.

The CCV is the only butterfly valve that can adapt to dynamic changes due to changing temperatures, which can cause materials to expand and contract. For example, a 12-inch-long aluminum rod cooling in liquid hydrogen from room temperature down to -423 ˚F will be shortened by approximately 1/16 inch. This may seem like an insignificant change, but it can cause a significant leak if the critical dimension between the valve disc and seat change. Ideally, cryogenic valves should be able to compensate for these dynamic temperature changes and maintain a tight seal, but the valves that were previously procured to replace the existing Royal/Hadley butterfly valves have not successfully passed the rigorous SSC cryogenic tests and material requirements for LOX systems. The CCV butterfly valve was specifically designed to perform reliably under these temperature conditions.

The CCV can seal better than other butterfly valves on the market because of the dual movement possible in the hybrid design. To improve sealing performance, it combines the rotational movement of a butterfly with the translational movement of a globe valve.