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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