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  • Ball: In a ball valve, a hollowed-out sphere (the ball) sits tightly inside a pipe, completely blocking the fluid flow. When you turn the handle, it makes the ball swivel through ninety degrees, allowing the fluid to flow through the middle of it.
  • Butterfly: A butterfly valve is a disk that sits in the middle of a pipe and swivels sideways (to admit fluid) or upright (to block the flow completely).
  • Cock or plug: In a cock or plug valve, the flow is blocked by a cone-shaped plug that moves aside when you turn a wheel or handle.
  • Gate or sluice: Gate valves open and close pipes by lowering metal gates across them. Most valves of this kind are designed to be either fully open or fully closed and may not function properly when they are only part-way open. Water supply pipes use valves like this.
  • Globe: Water faucets (taps) are examples of globe valves. When you turn the handle, you screw a valve upward and this allows pressurized water to flow up through a pipe and out through the spout below. Unlike a gate or sluice, a valve like this can be set to allow more or less fluid through it.
  • Needle: A needle valve uses a long, sliding needle to regulate fluid flow precisely in machines like car engine carburetors and central-heating systems.
  • Poppet: The valves in car engine cylinders are poppets. This type of valve is like a lid sitting on top of a pipe. Every so often, the lid lifts up to release or admit liquid or gas.
  • Spool: Spool valves regulate the flow of fluid in hydraulic systems. Valves like this slide back and forward to make fluid flow in either one direction or another around a circuit of pipes.
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