A gate valve is a type of stopper placed on a pipe system to block flow. These valves simply prevent the passage of liquid using a wedge that slides in and out of the pipe. In most cases, the gate valve is designed to be completely opened or completely closed.
Gate valves are rarely used as a means of flow control; they generally just stop flow completely or are unused. They tend to wear out over time and are often replaced with a ball valve which is a valve which checks flow by the seating of a spherical disc.
Often corrosion causes the gate valve to not open correctly thus either completely stopping the flow of water or reducing it to a bare minimum.
A very common reason for gate valve failure is pictured below. The screw drive (made out of brass) deteriorated and was no longer attached to the gate making it possible to be raised .
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