A valve is a device or natural object that regulates, directs or controls the flow of a fluid (gases, liquids, fluidized solids, or slurries) by opening, closing, or partially obstructing various passageways. Valves are technically fittings, but are usually discussed as a separate category. In an open valve, fluid flows in a direction from higher pressure to lower pressure. The word is derived from the Latin valva, the moving part of a door, in turn from volvere, to turn, roll.
Valves have many uses, including controlling water for irrigation, industrial uses for controlling processes, residential uses such as on/off and pressure control to dish and clothes washers and taps in the home. Even aerosol spray cans have a tiny valve built in. Valves are also used in the military and transport sectors. In HVAC ductwork and other near-atmospheric air flows, valves are instead called dampers. In compressed air systems, however, valves are used with the most common type being ball valves.