Dampers and Louvres

Chapter 30 - Basic Principles of Control Valves and Actuators

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A damper (otherwise known as a louvre) is a multi-element flow control device generally used to throttle large flows of air at low pressure. Dampers find common application in furnace and boiler draft control, and in HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems.

Common damper designs include parallel and radial. Parallel-vane dampers resemble a Venetian blind, with multiple rectangular vanes synchronously rotated to throttle flow through a rectangular opening. A photograph of a parallel-vane damper is shown here, part of an induced-draft (suction) air fan system on a separator at a cement plant. The vanes are not visible in this photograph because they reside inside the metal air duct, but the actuator mechanism and linkages connecting seven vane shafts together are:

Radial-vane dampers use multiple vanes arranged like petals of a flower to throttle flow through a circular opening. A photograph of a radial-vane damper is shown here (note the levers and linkages on the periphery of the tube, synchronizing the motions of the eight vanes so they rotate at the same angle):

Dampers find use in many non-industrial applications as well. Take for instance these greenhouse vents, actuated by pneumatic (air-powered) piston actuators: