They are designed to prevent spillage and are equipped with seals and valves for this purpose. Quick disconnect couplers are fast and easy to put together and take apart; most can be operated with one hand without the use of tools.
Couplings consist of a male plug that is inserted into an opening in the female component. They can range from 1/8 inches in diameter to ten inches and are typically made of stainless steel, aluminum or brass, though plastic quick couplers are available. Quick disconnect couplers are integral parts of many processes because they facilitate the efficient flow of fluids while having the ability to shut off the line in an instant to disconnect the attached hose, pipe, nozzle or tool.
They do this (in varying degrees) without spilling the product, losing pressure or introducing air to the system. These couplings are used in fuel transfer, agricultural sprayers, cooling systems and for pneumatic power tools. In addition to filling and emptying tankers, vats and totes, they also aid in switching or redirecting fluid flow. When working with hazardous, toxic, corrosive or flammable substances, quick disconnect couplers protect workers and the environment by transferring the material without spillage.
Quick disconnect couplers are also known as quick connect couplers or quick release couplers. Many styles have an interlock that is triggered when the male end is pushed or fitted into the female component. This mechanism holds the coupler in place and ensures that it does not accidentally release. Fluid passes through the coupler relatively unhindered by the internal valves.
The quick release coupler is disconnected when the interlock mechanism is switched off or rotated, and the valve(s) spring shut. Depending on the product and intended application, quick couplers are available with a number of different valves and sealing techniques. Poppets, ball bearings and butterfly styles are the three main valve designs.
Poppets use a spring-loading cylinder to tightly close off the line while ball bearing couplers have a bearing that rests snugly in a small opening when the valve closes. Butterfly valves have a disc held in the middle of a ring as the fluid passes through the coupling; to close, the disc snaps shut, flush with the ring. Double poppet systems and butterfly valves generally have the best and most immediate seals.
When used in breakaway and dry disconnect applications, these couplers have valves on both ends that can break apart from each other to maintain the seal on the hose or pipe on which they are attached.