Gate valves are classified as either RISING-STEM or NON RISING-STEM valves. On the non rising-stem gate valve shown in figure-2 the stem is threaded on the lower end into the gate. As the handwheel on the stem is rotated, the gate travels up or down the stem on the threads, while the stem remains vertically stationary. This type of valve almost always has a pointer-type indicator threaded onto the upper end of the stem to indicate valve position.
The rising-stem gate valve, shown in figure has the stem attached to the gate; the gate and stem rise and lower together as the valve is operated.
Gate valves used in steam systems have flexible gates. The reason for using a flexible gate is to prevent binding of the gate within the valve when the valve is in the closed position. When steam lines are heated, they will expand, causing some distortion of valve bodies. If a solid gate fits snugly between the seat of a valve in a cold steam system, when the system is heated and pipes elongate, the seats will compress against the gate, wedging the gate between them and clamping the valve shut. This problem is overcome by use of a flexible gate (two circular plates attached to each other with a flexible hub in the middle). This design allows the gate to flex as the valve seat compresses it, thereby preventing clamping.