Uses of Expansion Joints

Expansion joints are a vital piece of engineering equipment that allow pipes, pumps and other components to expand without causing damage to the entire structure. They are used in a wide range of applications from boilers and heat exchangers to pumps, turbines and engines.

There are a variety of types of expansion joints available. The most common are rubber, stainless steel and polymer-based materials. They are designed to withstand the expansion of pipe systems and their associated equipment due to temperature, vibrations and pressure.

They also reduce rust, limit misalignment and prevent leaks. However, they aren’t suitable for all situations and need to be designed by a structural engineer.

Thick Wall and Rectangular Bellows

Unlike circular pipe expansion joints, thick wall and rectangular bellows are designed to withstand axial, lateral and angular movement. This design makes them ideal for piping systems that are located in areas where they can’t be anchored.

For example, in industrial settings, they can be used near pumps, turbines and condensers. They can also be installed in long pipe systems or pipe ducts.

The elasticity of rubber means that it can absorb large deformations quickly and completely. This is particularly important for expansion joints that include arches or bends in their design.

These joints can be made from a range of different materials, including steel, aluminium and polymer-based materials. They are manufactured to withstand the expansion of pipe systems and the movement of their associated equipment and can be supplied in various sizes and designs.

When choosing the right material for your project, it is advisable to consider the intended application, the size of the gap, the expected movement, the end fittings, delivery and the temperature of the system. This is to ensure that you’re getting the best possible protection from the joint and to avoid wasting money or resources.

For instance, if you’re installing the joint in a chemical factory then you want to ensure that it is resistant to all chemicals. You also need to make sure that it is easy to clean and enables thorough and effective cleaning in order to keep the facility in good condition.

Another benefit of expansion joints is that they mitigate the build up of vibrational resonance on a pipe system, which can cause cracking. They can help to stop this process, which is one of the major causes of pipe failure.

Depending on the material used, expansion joints can be very robust, but they must be properly installed and maintained to ensure that they are able to withstand the rigours of their intended purpose. They are usually glued to the pipe or other item being joined together, or they can be a foam-like material that is compressed and sealed with hot rubber sealant.

The material chosen for these joints will depend on the requirements of the application and should be inspected before they are fitted. Some materials such as epoxy are more durable than others and can resist excess force, stress and corrosion.