Metal Expansion Joints and Metallic Compensators
What are the Metal Expansion Joint and Metallic Compensators?
Metal expansion joints and metallic compensators are leading technology components with a high responsibility in the process line. In normal operation conditions, the metallic expansion joint gets to absorb different displacements and dilations, pressures, temperatures, vibrations, among others.
We could define metal expansion joints and metallic compensators as flexible components intended to the piping of fluids, that ensure the protection of the system.
Means to control the thermal expansion by the use of metal expansion joints and metallic compensators
Due to the phenomenon of the thermal expansion, the size of any component, and particularly the size of the metallic ones (very commonly used in the industry), differ meaningfully due to the thermal differences. Therefore, unless the flexibility of the assembly can get improved to absorb the expansion, the equipment or the anchor points must support important external loads.
There are different ways to control the thermal expansions in the pipings. However, most of the expert would rather use metallic expansion joints and compensators due to their flexibility, that allows them to absorb displacements in any of the axis and avoid the great spaces taken up by the flexible lines.
Metal Expansion Joints ans Metallic Compensators Movements
Axial movement is the change in dimensional length of the bellows from its free length in a parallel direction to its longitudinal axis
Angular movement is the rotational displacement of the longitudinal axis of the bellows towards a point of rotation
Lateral movement is the relative displacement of one end of the bellows to the other end in a perpendicular direction to its longitudinal axis.
Advantages of Metal Expansion Joints and Metallic Compensators
- Minimum installation cost.
- Low installation space required.
- Do not imply pressure drops increasing.
- Minimum operation costs due to energy loss or isolation.
No maintenance required.
- Their inherent flexibility allows to absorb movements in multiple directions.
Applications of Metal Expansion Joints and Metallic Compensators
- Absorption of axial, angular or lateral displacements in pipes due to changes of temperature, earthquakes, subsidence, dynamic systems, etc.
- Absorption of vibrations.
- Connection to elastic frames or fragile elements (pumps, furnaces, etc.)
- Vacuum installations.
- Absorption of movements caused by thermal dilations in welded components.
- Pipelines and exhaust systems in generator sets.
SACOME Metal Expansion Joints and Metallic Compensators
Single Unrestrained Metal Expansion Joints
Universal Tied Metal Expansion Joint
Universal expansion joint for lateral and angular movements in one plane.
Single Tied Metal Expansion Joint
Metal expansion joint for one axis angular movement
Metal expansion joint for angular and lateral movements in two planes
Universal Unrestrained Metal Expansion Joint
Metal expansion joint for angular movements in two planes.
High Pressure Metal Expansion Joint
Expansion Joints Technical Documentation
The service life of a metal expansion joint or metallic compensator can be drastically reduced due to corrosion issues. The design and operation conditions can influence meaningfully, in such a way that the bellows may be affected by corrosion issues whilst the surrounding pipes and supports may not, even though they are made of similar materials.
Design, manufacturing and test procedures are a key factor for metal expansion joints manufacturers. In this technical article we explain briefly how are the most important factor to take into account.
There are many design alternatives, depending on the elements that make up the metal expansion joint or compensator.
SACOME designs and manufactures complete systems of metal expansion joints with special designs and customized configurations, which make it possible to keep the pressure, stresses and movements throughout the service life of the equipment.
Our know-how designing and manufacturing metal expansion joints and metallic compensators since 1978, has shown us that certain breakdowns rest most of the time with the same mistakes or incidences, such as those set out in the following sections.