Expansion Joints: crucial components in piping systems


What are expansion joints?

Compensators, or expansion joints, are used as flexible pipe sections for compensating movements and vibrations in the system. The use of compensators reduces stress in the pipe and in connected equipment. In case of vibrations, the vibration source is isolated, thereby reducing stress on the rest of the system and reducing noise.

Different types of expansion joints

Compensators are available in four basic designs:

  • Rubber expansion joints
  • Stainless steel expansion joints
  • PTFE expansion joints
  • Fabric expansion joints

The different designs have specific characteristics and are therefore used for different applications. Each type of expansion joint is suitable for a certain combination of pressure and temperature. For example, fabric expansion joints are suitable for high temperatures in combination with low pressures, while stainless steel expansion joints are suitable for a very wide range of both temperature and pressure.

Druk en temperatuur compensatoren
Belman WA-2D_

The selection of the right expansion joint

Based on the medium, temperature, pressure and the required movement in the pipe, the right expansion joint is selected. Furthermore, it is important to know what installation length is available and desired.

An universal -also called ''unstressed'- expansion joint can accommodate axial-, lateral- and angular movements. Besides this basic version, Hanwel can supply expansion joints that can only absorb one of the above movements or a combination of movements.

95% of the stainless steel expansion joints we supply concern custom-made solutions that are designed based on the input and wishes of our customers. Whenever we submit a quotation, you will receive a technical design drawing from us as standard including dimensions, the standards applied, the materials used and the spring constants.

Look beyond the expansion joint itself

Cheap decisions can be expensive and will be most times. When buying an expansion joint, it is important to also consider the supporting of a piping system.

Within a pressure-loaded system, pressure reaction forces prevail. These forces are absorbed by the pipe or by the pressure vessel in the form of material tension.

In case a pipe is insufficiently supported and the wrong expansion joint is used, the pressure reaction force released can have huge consequences for a pipe system in general.

Hanwel B.V. has all the knowledge required to look at ''the whole picture'' together with our customers. Feel free to contact us and let one of our specialists advise you.

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