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How Expansion Joints Prevent Catastrophic Failures

To avoid catastrophic failutres a critical requirement in any steam system is accounting for pipe expansion.

As pipes heat up with high pressure steam, pipes can grow up to 8 inches for every 100 feet. That growth can exert forces that break loose pipe guides and cause catastrophic failures. In order to avoid that two highly effective ways to accommodate thermal expansion is with slip and ball type expansion joints. Check out the video above which illustrates how both types of joints work.

Slip Type Expansion Joints

Advanced Thermal Systems (ATS) offers packed slip type expansion joints that provide an economical, safe, and reliable method of absorbing large amounts of axial pipe expansion and are ideal for systems with long straight pipe runs. Special configurations are available to accommodate as much as 24″ of expansion in both single and double (48″ total) expansion joints for service conditions to 1000 psig at 750°F. 

Flexible Ball Type Expansion Joints

ATS packed ball type expansion joints provide an economical, safe, and reliable method of absorbing large amounts of single and multiple plane displacements including rotation. Ball joints are ideal for systems with vertical pipe runs and/or natural offsets. These joints are designed to accommodate 15° to 33° of angular flex and 360° of rotation.

Standard ball and slip joints include such special features as:

  • A high performance injectable packing which is suitable for operation at temperatures up to 1000°F.
  • Packing cylinder designs that allow in service packing of the joint and uninterrupted process at pressures up to 1000 psig.
  • Low friction nonmetallic internal and external guides to offer further protection of the hard chrome plated sliding slip.

Because expansion joints’ internal and external guides must be concentric it’s important to have the most reliable joint possible. For recommendations on the right slip or ball type expansion joints for your system, contact the team at Campbell-Sevey.

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