Stories & Features

Check Valves for HPLC Pumps

Nov 12, 2021 by IDEX Health & Science

One of the most integral components of a High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) Pump is the Check Valve (CV). This one-way valve allows fluid through in only one direction by preventing backflow. The most common type of check valve used in an HPLC pump is the ball / seat. In this configuration, the ball makes a seal when seated on the complementary spherical sealing surface of the seat component. Most ball / seat check valves use gravity or reverse flow to create a seal.

Check valves are critical to HPLC pump performance, as they prevent any backflow and ensure maximum pumping efficiency. With the right combination of the design parameters to material selection, based on application needs, optimal performance of the check valve can be achieved.

Best Way to Maintain Check Valves?

There are a few critical attributes that have an impact on the performance of the pump, based on the pressure and chemical compatibility requirements of the HPLC application. Some of these are important to hold the pump pressures and others are critical to enable the use of specific solvents. Critical attributes include:

  • Ball and Seat Material
  • Ball and Size Grade
  • Ball Height
  • Ball Movement
  • Sealing Surface of the Ball Seat
  • Torque
Different materials can be used on the ball and seat of the check valve depending on the pressure and material inertness needs. Ball size can facilitate the flow / pressure requirements and the grade can determine the tight tolerances and finish quality. Ball height in relation to the sealing surface on the seat has an impact on the functionality of the check valve. Ball movement is controlled by the ball cage while allowing for the optimal amount of solvent to flow through when the ball lifts off the seat. The sealing surface must make a circular contact all the way around with the precise width to ensure high performance.

Other important field concerns with check valves include sticking issues when using solvents, that can impact the pressure ripple and cause baseline fluctuations.

Your Comprehensive Guide to Check Valves

This white paper covers the critical elements related to the functioning of a check valve. The various attributes described have a significant impact on check valve performance. All this ultimately affects the overall chromatography pump performance and the resulting chromatography readings. It is important to customize the design of the appropriate check valve to meet the specific application needs.

At IDEX Health & Science, we understand the impact of all these attributes to the optimal functionality of a check valve and its impact to the preventative maintenance cycle. With our design expertise and simulation capabilities, we leverage the right attributes to manufacture a check valve that meets the platform application needs by keeping design for cost central to our discussions.


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