Standard Terminology for Valves and Fittings


Standard Terminology Valves Fittings MSS SP 96


Standard terminology is useful for advancing and maintaining uniformity among different standards within the same industry. For example, with valves, the terminology of which is standardized within the Manufacturers Standardization Society (MSS) of the Valve and Fitting Industry’s ANSI/MSS SP-96-2017 - Terminology for Valves, Fittings, and Their Related Components, an established vocabulary can be instrumental in the success of any related standards that make use of the defined terms.

Of course, standards exist to serve the industries that they represent, so the harmonized terminology for the valve and fitting industry set forth by ANSI/MSS SP-96-2017 is useful for associated standard documents, but it is also highly beneficial for those making use of and interacting with valves and fittings in their occupations. And, while it might seem a relatively simple concept to know what to call something, there can be an integral need to establish which terminology is preferred and which is redundant when factors like efficiency and safety are at the forefront of operations.

Furthermore, words and names for things can develop in varying ways. In fact, many words are known to change meaning over time. For example, the word “valve” originally referred to the two halves of a folding door, deriving from a Latin word that literally translates to “that which turns”. Over time, its usage extended to a membranous fold that regulated flow of bodily fluids, i.e. a valve within the body. This usage, in the 1650s, extended to the mechanical valves that we see in industry today, as they physically resemble the valves of the human body.

ANSI/MSS SP-96-2017 defines valve as: “Type of device that isolates or controls fluid direction or flow rate (synonymous with stop, cock, faucet, tap, and bib).” To assist users of the document, valve types are listed with the word valve first so that all varieties appear in alphabetical order. For example, ball valve is listed as “valve, ball”.


Standard Terminology Valves Fittings MSS SP 96


While many words, such as valve, are easily acquired by many, clarification is always beneficial when it comes to terminology. In addition, it took hundreds of years for the word valve to bear its meaning today. Standard terminology can expedite this process. Whether the terms addressed in standard terminology documents are jargon, common usage of words, or vocabulary that is known to be used by some professionals, their detailed information can put all members of an industry on the same page.

Interestingly, a significant portion of some terminology standards is devoted to settling ambiguity when features have multiple terms that describe them. For example, in ANSI/MSS SP-96-2017, the preferred term is underlined, and the synonymous terms are referred to the preferred term. For example, under the definitions for “block valve” and “isolation valve”, the standard refers the user to “shut-off valve”, which is listed as “valve, shut off.

This is defined in ANSI/MSS SP-96-2017 as “Type of valve designed only for on/off service. Sometimes referred to as block valve or isolation valve.”

Other than its extensive glossary of terms, ANSI/MSS SP-96-2017 lists acronyms for organizations whose documents are relevant to valves, fittings, and related components, as well as abbreviations commonly used in the industry. This standard terminology helps to assure sufficient communication, fostering reliable industrial practices.

ANSI/MSS SP-96-2017 - Terminology for Valves, Fittings, and Their Related Components is available on the ANSI Webstore.
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