Expansion Joints to Alleviate Noise and Vibration

By: Anna Woodward

Expansion Joints refers to a metal bellows expansion joint designed to absorb axial, lateral and angular motions in piping systems. They are designed to alleviate piping stress, compensate for movement, reduce noise, and isolate vibration.

Expansion joints are designed just for your individual needs. Either metal bellows or sliding expansion joints are used in a wide range of situations with each installation designed to hold up to extremes of pressure temperature and sometimes even traffic.

Each application has its own unique properties and challenges, so each one will require a custom-made solution. You want to stick to an experienced fabricator when you specify the type of expansion joint that you need. Skilled engineers have many years of experience in this area and will be glad to assist you in designing an expansion joint that meets your demands.

Each metal bellow is designed from scratch with specifications for pitch, convolution height, thickness, number of plies, convoluted length, skirt length, and inside/ outside diameter requirements.

Joint design has specifications for working pressure, life cycle, and spring rate which are entirely dependent on the situation and needs for the final assembly.

These considerations, and some very specific mathematical formulas, are part of what insures that an expansion joint meets the standards set by the Expansion Joint Manufacturers Association. EJMA specifications have been created to ensure that expansion joints are able to perform under the specifications that are listed for it. This is for the benefit of everybody's productivity and safety.

You can find these joints used in any system that transports fluids or liquids. You may not know this, but even food production uses these joints in mechanical systems.

I know one plant involved in food production where the piping system transported milk, cream, high fructose corn syrup, and a variety of other food ingredients into the production area.

Expansion joint solutions have been created for industries and technologies like airline altitude sensors, piping for machine coolants, petrochemical processing industry, applications involving high and low pressure steam, the nuclear power industry, medical technology, food ingredient management, Industrial engines and pump systems.

All of these material handling systems had expansion joints to deal with the temperature variations. In addition to normal production stress, we also have to consider the temperature fluctuations that occur during cleaning. Sometimes these range from very high temperatures to low temperatures in the course of a very short length of time.

When designing your expansion joints it will certainly be wise to stick with a manufacturer that has experience. One mistake in fabrication or an engineering specs can cause an entire process to break down at a time when you don't want it to. Infrastructure is very important part of any company and not something to be taken lightly.

Expansion joints need to be carefully designed to take the extremes of pressure and heat in a piping system so little-known possibilities are accounted for in the system and all through your business.

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