Tag Archives: expansion joints

What are the most important considerations before and after ordering a nonmetallic expansion joint?

Nonmetallic expansion joints for piping systems are often neglected when planning ahead for an upcoming outage or standard preventative maintenance plan. They are a product that seems to fall between what
is typically defined as an engineered item and a commodity item. Therefore, there always seems to be a scramble at the time of replacement.

Some important considerations before ordering an expansion joint for replacement should be:
• What is the visual condition of the joint? Is there cracking, leaking, soft spots, etc.?
• What is the age of the joint?
• What are the physical dimensions (face-to-face, angular, lateral or torsional offset)?
• What are the service conditions of the application (media, temperature, pressure and movement)?

These are all important to consider and can be determined by a good field survey. A complete field survey can save money and grief during and after installation, including future down time. Visual examination of the joint being replaced and its length of service provide insight for selection of the best replacement. For example, damage from chemical attack, over elongation and premature deterioration can signal the need for changes in materials or design.

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What should be considered for the selection of expansion joints for pumps?

Some past “Sealing Sense” articles have focused on important considerations when replacing a failed expansion joint or pump flexible connector. While defining all the possible  causes of a failure is important, doing everything possible to get it right the first item is equally important. This can save the end user money and time by delaying significant replacement costs and failures.

All components and system requirements must be considered when choosing an expansion joint for the particular application. Uncovering all the factors that may influence reliable performance provides for the most ideal selection.

Before addressing the expansion joint itself, ensure that adjacent piping and equipment conforms to good, solid piping engineering practices. Basically, this means the proper placement and design of the anchors, guides and supports are important for the expansion joint to function properly.

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