A solenoid valve is an electromechanically operated valve. The valve is controlled by an electric current through a solenoid: in the case of a two-port valve the flow is switched on or off; in the case of a three-port valve, the outflow is switched between the two outlet ports. Multiple solenoid valves can be placed together on a manifold.
Solenoid valves are the most frequently used control elements in fluidics. Their tasks are to shut off, release, dose, distribute or mix fluids. They are found in many application areas. Solenoids offer fast and safe switching, high reliability, long service life, good medium compatibility of the materials used, low control power and compact design.
Besides the plunger-type actuator which is used most frequently, pivoted-armature actuators and rocker actuators are also used.
There are many valve design variations. Ordinary valves can have many ports and fluid paths. A 2-way valve, for example, has 2 ports; if the valve is open, then the two ports are connected and fluid may flow between the ports; if the valve is closed, then ports are isolated. If the valve is open when the solenoid is not energized, then the valve is termed normally open (N.O.).
Similarly, if the valve is closed when the solenoid is not energized, then the valve is termed normally closed There are also 3-way and more complicated designs.
A 3-way valve has 3 ports; it connects one port to either of the two other ports (typically a supply port and an exhaust port).