Author Hans D. Baumann explains how the newest edition of his book, Control Valve Primer, Fifth Edition, teaches the latest in control valve technology.

Control Valve Primer Cover
Please provide a brief description of your book. 

This book is primarily for novice instrument engineers who, even though they have been educated in feedback theory in college control courses and consider themselves experts in computer programming, are suddenly faced with the challenge of designing a control loop in a process plant. There, they discover that, in addition to all the vaguely familiar electronic hardware such as controllers and transmitters, they also need a final control element. This element turns out to be a cross between a piece of plumbing hardware and a pneumatic logic system. Because their training did not cover final control elements—valves—these engineers are not equipped to answer the 30-plus entry questions on a typical control valve specification sheet without much research.

This reference book provides practical advice to make the job of sizing and applying control valves easier and help engineers determine what is relevant when bombarded with conflicting claims from competing control valve vendors. At the very least, it may keep them from wasting valuable time wading through hundreds of pages of scientifically worded books. This book also familiarizes the seasoned engineer with the latest technical information relating to control valves. It is a must-read for any student of automatic control systems.  

What trends or changes to control valve techniques and processes prompted you to write the fifth edition of your book?

The hardware and theoretical aspects of control valve technology have evolved over the years, and instrument engineers must understand the changes to select the appropriate valve for each application. Changes in this edition include: 

  • An expanded chapter on digital positioners
  • Increased coverage of DCS systems and smart positioners
  • A new hydrodynamic and cavitation noise estimate
  • Updated standard references to reflect the latest IEC versions
  • A new chapter on seat leakage and seat materials
  • Additional illustrations
  • Updated aerodynamic noise equations
  • Attention to pipe vibration problems due to sound

What differentiates this book from other books that cover the subject?

An essential part of the book is the introduction of the revolutionary, scientifically developed ABC sound estimating method, which is presented in numerical and graphical form. This method is truly universal because it can be used for all types and sizes of control valves, and it does not require vendor-specific “fudge factors” to meet the requirements in IEC standards. The ABC method predictions for both gases and liquids are surprisingly accurate. 

Please briefly discuss the new, expanded, and updated sections in the book. 

The book discusses fluid mechanical and acoustical phenomena such as cavitation, super-sonic gas velocities, and the causes of turbulence inside a valve. It introduces a method to convert acoustic power into pipe vibration, enabling users to spot dangerous acceleration levels that could damage pipes or attached instruments. It also covers the following: 

  • Advances in aerodynamic and hydrodynamic noise suppression
  • The environmental impact of seat and stem packing leakage
  • Selecting fail-safe valve open or close positions to meet cybersecurity demands


About Hans D. Baumann

Hans D. Baumann
Hans D. Baumann
Hans D. Baumann, is a world-renowned expert on control valves. He is credited with more than 100 US patents relating to valve control technology and has written eight books (among them the Control Valve Primer) on the subject. He is: an Honorary Member of ISA, ASME, the Fluid Controls Institute, and the Spanish Chemical Engineering Society; a member of Sigma Xi; and an inductee of the Automation Control Hall of Fame. For many years, he represented the US at the IEC International Standards Committee on control valves.

In 1977, he founded H. D. Baumann Assoc., Ltd., a manufacturer of control valves. The company was initially acquired by Fisher Instruments, and is now part of Emerson Process Management. Over his career, Dr. Baumann has served in numerous positions, including Chief Engineer (at W. & T. Co., a German valve supplier); Manager of Research & Development (at Worthington S/A in France); Director of Engineering (at Cashco); Vice President (at Masoneilan International, Inc.); and Senior Vice President of Technology (at Fisher Controls).

Dr. Baumann holds degrees from Case institute of Technology (now part of Case Western Reserve University) and Northeastern University, and earned a doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia Pacific University.