A piston valve can also refer to a 2-way 2-position, pilot-operated spool valve. The term is extremely popular among spud gun enthusiasts who often build homemade piston valves for use in pneumatic cannon. Valves are typically constructed primarily from pipe fittings and machined plastics or metals. The inside of a piston valve contains a piston that blocks the output when the valve is pressurized, and a volume of air behind the piston. When the pressure behind the piston is released the piston is pushed back by the force of the pressure from the input. This allows the valve to be opened by a much smaller pilot valve, with speeds faster than possible with just a manually operated valve. Functionally these types of valves are comparable to quick exhaust valves.
This type of piston valve is also sometimes referred to as a back-pressure valve.
Read more about this topic: Piston Valve