Expansion joints are a critical component for any industrial application which includes piping or ducting. With a wide variety of designs và materials to lớn choose from, the correct selection & optimal installation of expansion joints are vital to lớn ensure reliable & safe operations.

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Commercial & industrial installations which feature any kind of pumping, piping, or ducting will also almost invariably include expansion or movement joints too. Mitigating against the effects of thermal expansion, movement induced by vibration or even external factors such as seismic activity or ground settlement, expansion joints are a necessary safety component.

Manufactured from a wide variety of materials such as stainless steel, rubber, or Polytetrafluroethylene (PTFE), expansion joints help to ensure structural integrity. For instance, where industrial processes require large changes in temperature, thermal expansion of metal components can introduce stresses which may cause fatigue. Expansion joints can eliminate this potential source of failure.

What Is The Right Kind Of Expansion Joint?

Rubber expansion joints possess many particularly beneficial characteristics due to an inherent flexibility, provided it meets the application temperature/pressure requirements. This makes them suitable for many applications, including the absorption of sound, thermal energy và shock. Known for their durability and capability to lớn withstvà extreme environments, rubber expansion joints are commonly found in harsh applications such as pulp và paper, chemical processing, water & wastewater, mining & metals, as well as in pumping applications. Rubber expansion joints are also commonly found being used lớn reduce fluid noise from rotating equipment they are attached to.

Typically fabricated of natural or synthetic oil-based elastomers, materials used in rubber flexible joints include EPDM, Neoprene, Chlorobutyl and Hypalon, Nitrile và Natural Rubber combined with other materials, including metal or wire reinforcing, nylon, polyester, aramid fiber or PTFE.

In some extreme environments, such as high PH or low PH chemical systems, expansion joints are constructed from molded PTFE or PTFE lined rubber. As a non-reactive sầu material, PTFE has some advantageous properties for the chemicals processing industry where highly corrosive substances may be in play. Molded PTFE or PTFE lined rubber expansion joints are specifically designed to protect pipes which come in liên hệ with strong industrial and reactive sầu materials.

Systems which feature braided metal hose are designed to lớn control vibration, reduce noise, relieve găng và compensate for potential misalignment while withstanding higher operational temperature/pressures. Suitable for many different mechanical applications, such as pumps, compressors và other heavy equipment, these connectors are made from a variety of different metals, including copper và stainless steel, khổng lồ suit even the most extreme applications.

Selecting The Right Expansion Joint

Given that expansion joints are frequently found operating in potentially rigorous processes such as the power, steel, pulp và paper, mining và chemical industries, correct selection, installation & maintenance is key to ensuring reliability & maximizing performance, getting the best service life. Where failure of an expansion joint could lead to downtime of a system, materials selection and optimal installation are key. Rubber expansion joints, for example, if incorrectly used at excessively high temperature or are improperly installed will thua kém flexibility over time as oils within the rubber are lost. This will lead khổng lồ the expansion joint becoming brittle và prone lớn accelerated failure.

Do đánh giá the expansion joint manufacturer’s performance characteristics and seek help with kiến thiết considerations based on the manufacturer’s experience for the application lớn lessen failure possibilities. Some initial considerations when selecting an expansion joint are to lớn choose one which is suitably sized for the application và the available footprint, as well as rated for the anticipated range of temperatures và pressures that the equipment will see during its operational life. Other factors may include the viscosity of the pumped fluid, if it includes solids, và if there are any potential incompatibility issues between the process fluids & the expansion joint materials. Total cost of ownership is also a critical element in choosing the best expansion joint for any given application.

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Correct Expansion Joint Installation


Expansion joint & pipe layout

Even the best & most expensive sầu sản phẩm will become more prone lớn failure if it is badly installed. Conversely, installing the right product correctly can not only extkết thúc the life of a system, but can also enhance the total lifespan of the whole system.

Correct piping alignment is high on the các mục of priorities. An offphối installation automatically puts the expansion joint in a difficult situation & may create very real hazards for both sản phẩm và operators. Expansion joints are not designed to lớn compensate for inaccuracies in piping installation and should not be used to lớn correct them. Similarly, vibration should be minimized and expansion joints should be located as cthua as possible to fixed anchors or control rods which should be used in un-anchored piping systems. Sufficient pipe support is also critical as the expansion joint should not carry the weight of adjacent piping/equipment in order to operate correctly.

Siting (site selection) of expansion joints is another key consideration. Ideally, expansion joints should not be installed in areas where inspection is not possible. Furthermore, where expansion joints are transporting hazardous materials, the use of an external metal shield should be considered to lớn protect personnel in the event of leakage or failure as fluid will run parallel to the pipe system và not radially out.

It is also important lớn consider the type of expansion joint và its materials. For example, while it is common practice to place piping insulation over metallic expansion joints, when using rubber expansion joints this practice should be avoided. Thermal insulation can allow heat lớn build up and dry out the rubber making it become more brittle, enhancing the failure mode.

On a more mundane màn chơi, during the expansion joint installation operators should check for any damage to the expansion joint, install external hardware properly & ensure that it is torqued properly khổng lồ ensure leak không tính tiền operation.

Following a few simple guidelines and taking every effort lớn ensure an expansion joint is installed correctly will inevitably pay operational dividends.

Maintaining Expansion Joints

While an expansion joint that is correctly sized, specified and installed should not require any maintenance, a regular inspection program is nonetheless highly recommended. Inspections can identify any issues such as leaks, corrosion or blisters & cracks in rubber expansion joints. Checking for signs of wear does not guarantee that damage will not occur but identifying any potential problems early does significantly reduce the total value at risk. As with all equipment, following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule is likely khổng lồ yield the optimal result in terms of securing a maximized service life. When installed & maintained correctly, expansion joints may reasonably expect a 7 khổng lồ 10-year service life, though specifics are dependent on the application. However, this does require sticking lớn a policy of strictly following manufacturer’s recommendations.

Used correctly, expansion joints are an effective sầu solution to manage movement, vibration and the cyclic motion associated with temperature changes. Available in a broad range of sizes, styles, materials and specifications, suitable expansion joints are available khổng lồ service even the most demanding applications. But khổng lồ get the most out of any expansion joint choose the right one & ensure it is installed correctly.

Proco Products are leading expansion joint manufacturers with an extensive sầu inventory of expansion joints for piping và ducting systems. Find out more about expansion joints at https://www.procoproducts.com.