Some industry professionals have voiced concerns relating to the use of rubber expansion joints in pump piping applications. One recent claim cited installation misalignment and the expansion joint’s stiffness or spring rate as the reason for increased vibration levels across the system and more force being applied on the pump.
While every pumping system is different, it is more likely that the pressure thrust force from an unrestrained expansion joint would impose far more force and adversely affect pump performance, as opposed to a few hundred pounds of spring rate load. It is important to understand that unless the rods of the control unit are tied snug tight, the expansion joint could still impose a potentially damaging pressure thrust force on the pump. This point is commonly missed and may explain why some hastily feel the solution is to eliminate expansion joints, increase the rigidity of the piping system and tighten installation tolerances.
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