Where there is a pipeline, one can be reasonably sure there is also some mechanism to keep the contained liquid, steam, or gas free of suspended solids. In many cases, the tool in question is likely to be a Y-strainer. The device derives its name from the fact that its shape resembles that of the prefixed letter.
Straining may best be described as a coarse filtration process. Rather than rendering a liquid crystal clear or gas free of all suspended solids, its goal is to trap only those particles that may be large enough to cause damage or blockages. Examples of coarse filtration devices can often be found in our homes. For instance, we will often use a colander to drain the water from cooked vegetables. However, in contrast to the Y-strainer, the colander’s purpose is to remove unwanted liquid from the solids.
The structure of a pipeline is similar to that of a blood vessel. It will contain a pump that functions as a heart to keep the contents flowing, and there will also be sensors that act much like nerve endings to monitor the conditions within the flow and maintain them within the required limits. To mimic the nerves of the circulatory system, pipelines employ pressure gauges and flow meters to check and control their internal environment.
Installing a Y-strainer near the start of a pipeline prevents any solid particles from getting through and perhaps causing damage to vulnerable gauges, control valves, and pumps, located further downstream. One could compare this process to excluding excess cholesterol and calcium from the blood to prevent plaque formation.
The key to the action of these devices is the straining element, which will usually be a perforated metal or wire mesh structure. The perforations or gaps in the mesh vary in size and determine the performance of the Y-strainer.
A basket strainer can perform the same function. Each of these devices has its pros and cons. For example, the basket version can collect more dirt before it needs cleaning. On the other hand, where the flowing contents contain few particles, cleaning will also be less frequent, so a Y-shaped model will be the more compact and cost-effective choice while also providing higher operating pressures.
However, perhaps the most significant advantage of the latter is its greater versatility. While the basket variety is only suitable for a horizontal pipeline, the shape of a Y-strainer allows it to be installed both in horizontal and vertical lines. For more about these and other industrial filter systems, consult Flow Clear Filtration.