July 1, 2022

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Different Types of Metal Expansion Joints Used for Piping System

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When it comes to preserving the integrity of a piping system some factors such as pressure, thermal expansion and contraction needs to be monitored and controlled. Expansion joints are largely designed to keep these two factors at bay by absorbing thermal and mechanical axial expansion movements, eliminating rampant grinding and cracking which could cause equipment failure. High pressure expansion joints are also used in building and bridge construction.

Properties of High Pressure Expansion Joints

A high pressure expansion joint is made with durable, high-quality stainless steel bellows and end flanges for superior performance. They also feature internal sleeves at both connecting ends that facilitate the smooth flow of fluid under pressure and reduce friction on the bellows.

The bellow elements are essential in facilitating fluid movements by compensating volume changes through the piping systems while minimizing axial movements of components in the system as a result of high pressure.

Other industrial metal expansion joints include hinged, universal, tied single, double, gimble and pressure balanced expansion joints.

Metal Expansion Joint Components

Hinged Expansion Joints

Expansion joints consisting of metal bellows, pipe ends and a control system designed to primarily accept angular movement in a single plane. How does this work? Pair of pins that attach through the hinge plates at the pipe ends of the expansion joint, and the hinge joint are designed to absorb internal pressure.

Hinged expansion joints often used as a pair or a set of three, ideally suited for hinged piping systems with long angular movements. They can be installed at any point along the pipeline without compromising the integrity of the system; properly installed hinged expansion joints organically becomes part of the entire system.

Universal Expansion Joint

Universal expansion joint features two multi-convoluted metal bellows connected by a pipe section. Also used in low-pressure systems, this expansion joint accepts lateral, axial and angular heat expansions and movements in the pipeline.

Pressure Balanced Expansion Joints

Pressure balanced expansion joints consist of several metal balancing bellows designed to absorb axial and lateral movements from equipment due to internal pressure. They are usually used in situations where space is limited to install an anchor in the system. Or, in systems such as pumps and turbines that require minimum movement.

Tied Single Expansion Joint

A tied single expansion joint is used to manage tension, stress and vibrations generated by pipeline or equipment without a supporting anchor. In addition to absorbing lateral movements, this type of expansion joint also reduces pressure thrust through the tied bars attached to flanges.

Gimbal Expansion Joints

These types of expansion joints are designed to accommodate angular movements in different plane directions. A set of four hinge restraints attached to pipe ends are joined to a standard gimbal ring.

There are different types of expansion joints and comes in a range of designs for various industrial applications. They also come in both standard and custom options for specific project requirements.