A critical requirement in any steam system is accounting for pipe expansion as the lines are heated. With high temperature steam, pipes can grow up to 8 inches for every 100 feet.
Without specifically engineered equipment to take these expansions into account, the pipe growth can exert forces that break loose pipe guides and cause catastrophic failures.
Two highly effective and safe ways to accommodate for the thermal expansion is with slip and ball type expansion joints. Check out the video above which illustrates how both types of joints work.