The online FSA KnowledgeBase was officially launched in May 2017 as part of the FSA’s mission to be “. . . the primary source of technical information” for the fluid sealing industry’s products and their applications. This marked the transition from a print-based handbook focus to an online focus for training and education resources. At launch, the KnowledgeBase contained approximately 35 pieces of content and videos across seven categories of mechanical seal subject matter. Since that time, the FSA has expanded and improved the site content, which now has more than 230 files on mechanical seals, expansion joints, and an archive of “Sealing Sense” articles spanning the full range of FSA topics. There are more than 750 registered users, and the site has tracked nearly 5,000 online sessions from that user base.
Rubber expansion joints are likely the least understood and most abused component in a piping system. They are flexible, stretchy and easily forced into lots of places despite what the installation instructions say. Most of the time, rubber joints are merely an afterthought in multi-million dollar piping systems – until things go awry.
The rubber joint is unmatched for vibration isolation. If properly installed, a rubber joint can greatly reduce equipment nozzle loads. Its resilience allows it to be installed in many different systems under a range of temperatures, pressure, and media. What could possibly go wrong?
Keeping aging facilities and equipment maintained is an everchanging task that can jeopardize the goal of maximizing uptime. Years of thermal cycling, vibration or foundation settling can disorient piping or pumps. Piping engineers will use rubber expansion joints to account for these types of challenges in a rigid piping system. Permanent misalignment can set
in after years of operation. The original size expansion joint could no longer be the best fit when it comes time to replace.
Replacing a permanently misaligned expansion joint connection with the original part could lead to reduced service life and/or missed expectations of the new expansion joint. Determining the best way to accommodate this when it comes time to replace the existing expansion joint can have long-term effects on reliability.
It is no secret that one of the greatest demands for an expansion joint is the expectation to serve a long, leak-free life with little to no maintenance. Once installed, these flexible rubber connectors should require little attention. The preservation of this investment (and one’s sanity) can be maximized with an in-depth overview of how control units can prevent a new expansion joint from being overstressed.
The purpose of a control unit is to act as a safety device against excessive movement resulting from pressure thrust. A typical control unit assembly is comprised of threaded rods, steel gusset plates, nuts and washers.
On October 26, in Fort Worth, Texas, the Expansion Joint Division will be discussing the activities of the Ducting Technical Committee, which includes reviewing of material properties and specifications and guideline for application and selection. The Piping Technical Committee will discuss the updated technical handbook and educational activities and opportunities. The Division overall will continue their discussion on combining the Ducting and Piping Divisions and goals moving forward, including a membership drive and promotion of the FSA.
The Piping Expansion Joint Division of the FSA recently completed revisions for the 8th edition of the Piping Handbook, now called the Piping Expansion Joints Technical Handbook. The revised handbook includes a contemporary format with new three-dimensional graphics. The technical content has been expanded and revised to reflect a wider variety of expansion joints and to make the handbook more relevant to the user.
The handbook provides up-to-date compilations of construction standards and guides for specifying and purchasing non-metallic expansion joints and flexible pipe connectors. It is based on the latest information concerning research, design and application of rubber (elastomer) expansion joints by engineers associated with the FSA’s Non-Metallic Expansion Joint Division member companies.
Many members of the Fluid Sealing Association (FSA) Non-Metallic Expansion Joint Division and of the Expansion Joint Manufacturers Association (EJMA) feel that expansion joints are the forgotten components of many piping systems. Other piping systems components – flanges, gaskets, strainers, valves, pumps and the pipe itself – seem to get most of the design time.
In many ways, expansion joints are the most important components of a well-designed piping system. They are the “living and breathing” dynamic part of the whole system.
Without well-designed and well-placed expansion joints, parts such as pump nozzles, valve bodies and pipe anchors could face excessive loading and vibrational fatigue. Without proper compensation, thermal growth at elevated temperatures can damage some pipes, reducing their operation life.
The FSA has just released a complete update of their Expansion Joints – Piping Technical Handbook. Edition 8.0 is based on the latest experience in research, design, and application of piping expansion joints by engineers associated with the Expansion Joint – Piping Division member companies in the FSA.
The Expansion Joints – Piping Technical Handbook, edition 8.0, includes:
updated renderings of expansion joints and expansion joint layouts.
a new section on specialized expansion joints, such as hinged rubber expansion joints, gimbaled rubber joints and pressure balanced expansion joints.
a comprehensive list of definitions as they are viewed within the industry.
an expansion joint specification sheet for end users to gather information for customer inquiries to FSA member companies.
The publication is intended to be a reference source of information and data for engineers who design and install piping systems. It provides guidance on design and selection of material and proper installation.
“The collaboration on the revised handbook was fantastic. All Expansion Joint – Piping Division members put a lot of effort into the redesign of this handbook,” said Rob Coffee, FSA Vice President. “Special recognition goes to Mr. Gary Eiseman of Dinatecnica for taking the lead on organization of the project.”
This component can compensate for misalignments up to 1/8 of an inch.
Rubber expansion joints are used in piping installations to compensate for thermal growth, relieve piping stress during operation, and reduce vibration and noise caused by rotating equipment. While a rubber expansion joint can compensate for pipeline misalignment, this compliant product has installation and operations limitations. the best method for installing most piping products, including rubber expansion joints, is to follow standardized piping practices and use an installation tolerance of less than 1/8 of an inch.
The criteria for expansion joint selection for fluid piping applications focuses on the expansion joint’s quality, durability and capabilities. To ensure that the rubber expansion joint’s installation provides optimal service life, operators and maintenance personnel must consider specific conditions and take a systematic approach. Piping systems require some degree of flexibility. Inadequate flexibility can lead to a catastrophic, potentially life-threatening system failure, making flexibility an important consideration when selecting an expansion joint.