Expansion joints

Expansion joints

  • industrial expansion joints

Expansion joints – general information

Compensators are used in pipelines, pipe installations. Intended to absorb minor movements (axial, lateral and angular) and vibrations. They take up displacement of the connected parts of the pipeline that occur as a result of thermal expansion of the pipeline. They reduce stress in the pipeline and facilitate pipeline installation. They absorb vibrations and dampen noise in industrial installations and industrial machines. Yet, they have to feature high chemical resistance to substances flowing through the pipeline, pressure resistance and temperature resistance as well.

Generally, a bellow expansion joint is the most popular one. It has a corrugated, flexible bellow and appropriate connection – e.g. flange. Depending on bellow material, compensators are classified into:

The selection of the right compensator must account for parameters typical for hose selection such as medium, working temperature and pressure, but first of all a type of movement must be considered (axial, lateral and angular), as well as axial, lateral and angular flexibility of the expansion joint i.e. force that must be applied to obtain motion/deformation.


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FAQ – Expansion joints:

What are expansion joints used in pipelines for?

Expansion joints, regardless of their type and material, are essentially designed to:
– absorb thermal expansion, which is caused by the medium flowing through a pipeline,
– eliminate or reduce movement and vibrations,
– reduce structural and assembly stress,
– facilitate installation of pipeline components and fittings.
Therefore, once they are installed in the system, the expansion joints act to increase the comfort of operation and extend its service life.

What is the maximum pressure that an expansion joint can operate at?

The allowable working pressure of expansion joints may vary greatly and depends on several factors. Generally, it varies with the material of a bellow. The bellow is a flexible element in the expansion joint. Factors such as the size and working temperature of the expansion joint or the type of medium flowing through it, are also very important. The lowest allowable working pressure is that of fabric expansion joints. Because of the material used in their construction, the pressure cannot normally exceed 0.5 bar overpressure. Both rubber and PTFE expansion joints can withstand much higher working pressure, which can reach a maximum of 25 bar and 16 bar respectively. Steel expansion joints are manufactured to handle the highest allowable working pressures, which can reach 100 bar and depends on the size and type of the expansion joint.

What is the temperature resistance of expansion joints?

The temperature resistance of expansion joints varies depending on the type of material they are made of. The maximum working temperature of rubber expansion joints depends on the type of rubber they are made of and reaches +150C. PTFE (Teflon) expansion joints have a higher allowable working temperature, which depending on the operating pressure, can be slightly above +200C. On the other hand, steel expansion joints can operate at much higher temperatures, which depending on the material used, far exceed +500C. Fabric expansion joints offer the highest temperature resistance. Since they are made of specially engineered materials, they can operate faultlessly at working temperatures up to and even above +1000C.