This week’s featured article is on expansion joint burst testing. The objective of a burst test is to determine the ultimate pressure resistance that a bellows can absorb prior to failure. Burst tests help determine the margin of safety and safety factor to be used in a specialized bellows design. During a burst test, hydrostatic pressure is slowly increased until failure occurs, which usually happens in one to two hours. Burst testing is conducted at ambient temperatures to determine a bellows pressure rating. We follow all the necessary safety precautions for personnel involved, such as placing the bellows in a high strength steel cage and using a safety shut-off switch. Based on the burst test results, a safety factor is applied, thus establishing the ultimate pressure rating.
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This week’s feature is on tied universal expansion joints designed for piping in a power generation plant in Texas. They are 6″ in diameter, 60″ in length, and will be used in a hot air application. The pipe, lugs and weld ends are fabricated from carbon steel, and the bellows are 321 stainless steel. The expansion joints are designed for 100°F at 3 psig and are capable of 6″ lateral movement. Each unit was 100% dye penetrant tested and soap and air tested prior to shipment.
The video shows an expansion joint bellows being cycle tested through a specified design movement of 1-1/4″ to verify the calculated life span of 30,000 cycles. The number of completed cycles is recorded throughout the duration of the test. U.S. Bellows routinely performs this test to confirm designs and ensure a high quality product. We do extensive expansion joint product testing such as x-ray, burst, hydrostatic, ultrasonic, radiography, fatigue, PMI, pneumatic, magnet particle and helium leak testing depending on customer specifications. Each bellows and expansion joint unit goes through in-process quality control using a system of travelers, and a final in-house dimensional inspection is performed prior to shipping.
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Trying to decide which type of fabric expansion joint to use in your application? Our new comparison chart lists the materials, temperature ranges, advantages, pressure, chemical resistance and applications.
View the Fabric Expansion Joint Materials Comparison Chart
The following are examples of expansion joints fabricated from a variety of materials.
Expansion Joints Fabricated with Neoprene Material:
Expansion Joints Fabricated with Reinforced Silicone Material:
Expansion Joints Fabricated with PTFE Impregnated Fiberglass Material:
Expansion Joints Fabricated with Silica Fabric Cloth Material: