The Expansion Joints Blog

Types of Metallic Expansion Joints

May 20th, 2013 Comments off

U.S. Bellows offers all types of metallic expansion joints. Each type has advantages and limitations that can provide flexibility, load reduction, structural integrity and reliability required in a piping system.
Metal expansion joints can withstand the design temperatures and pressures, as well as provide the capacity necessary to absorb thermal growth of the piping system. The thermal movement required can be axial, lateral or angular. In some cases, the pressure thrust of an expansion joint must be restrained by the use of tie rods, hinges or a gimbal while allowing the bellows to move through its design deflections.

Learn more about the different types of metallic expansion joints:

Single Expansion Joint Universal Expansion Joint Hinged Expansion Joint

Expansion Joints


Expansion Joints


Expansion Joints


Elbow Pressure Balanced Expansion Joint In-line Pressure Balanced Expansion Joint
Elbow Pressure Balanced Expansion Joints In-line Pressure Balanced Expansion Joints Externally Pressurized Expansion Joints


Single Expansion Joint Single Expansion Joint Universal Expansion Joint


Expansion Joints


Expansion Joints


Expansion Joints


Universal Expansion Joint


Expansion Joints

Thick-wall (Flanged & Flued)

Expansion Joints

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Expansion Joint Photo Gallery

May 20th, 2013 Comments off
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64″ Dia. Elbow Pressure Balanced Expansion Joint Designed for an Exhaust Duct

May 12th, 2013 Comments off

64" Dia. Elbow Pressure Balanced Expansion Joint Designed for an Exhaust Duct

U.S. Bellows designed and manufactured a 64” diameter custom elbow pressure balanced expansion joint for an exhaust duct in a power plant in Alberta, Canada. It is 386” in overall length and is fabricated from carbon steel with 321 stainless steel bellows. This expansion joint is designed for 1-1/8” axial movement, ½” lateral movement at 482°F and 174 psig. Tests performed on the unit include 100% dye penetrant, x-ray, and ultrasonic on pressure bearing welds. The unit was also hydrotested at 291 psig prior to shipment.

Single Expansion Joints Designed for Gas Service in Peru

April 27th, 2013 Comments off

Single Expansion Joints Designed for Gas Service in Peru

Single Expansion Joints Designed for Gas Service in Peru

These single expansion joints are 20″ in overall length and range in diameter from 3″ to 56″. They are composed of 321 stainless steel bellows, 316L flanges and angles, and include carbon steel covers. The expansion joints were designed for 194°F at 22 PSIG and were dye penetrant examined and soap and air tested prior to shipping to Peru.

Bellows Rupture

April 22nd, 2013 Comments off

Tie rods are necessary in some applications to continuously restrain the full pressure thrust during normal operation while permitting only lateral deflection. Here is an example of what can happen when tie rods are not specified or the piping has not been anchored.

Bellows Rupture


Refractory Lined Expansion Joint Designed for a Clean Fuels Project

April 14th, 2013 Comments off

Refractory Line Expansion Joint Designed for a Clean Fuels Project

This refractory lined expansion joint is composed of 321 stainless steel bellows and A588-A Corten angle flanges. It is lined with a 4″ thick refractory lining and measures 7′-2″ x 4′-6″ x 134″ F-F. The expansion joint was dye penetrant tested and will be utilized in flue gas service associated with a clean fuels project at an oil refinery.

2″-18″ Dia. Custom Tied Universal Expansion Joints Designed for a Chemical Plant

March 31st, 2013 Comments off

2"-18" Dia. Custom Tied Universal Expansion Joints Designed for a Chemical Plant

U.S. Bellows custom designed tied universal expansion joints with 304 stainless steel bellows from 2″ to 18″ diameter for a chemical plant in Texas. The expansion joints are designed for 3″ lateral movement at 122°F and 100 psig. The expansion joints were hydro-tested at 150 psig and delivered in six weeks.

54″ Dia. Refurbished Custom Crossover Expansion Joint

March 17th, 2013 Comments off

54" Dia. Refurbished Custom Crossover Expansion Joint

U.S. Bellows refurbished a 54″ dia. custom crossover expansion joint for a power plant in Kansas. The flow end and balancing end bellows were replaced. The pressure balanced expansion joint was designed for 1″ axial movement at 700°F and 150 psig. The bellows longitudinal weld seams were 100% x-rayed and the assembly was hydro-tested at 180 psig prior to shipment. The refurbishment was completed in three weeks to meet the customer’s outage requirements.

Ensure-A-Splice Test Splice Instructions

March 11th, 2013 Comments off

Splicing of fabric expansion joints is a critical operation which needs to be performed correctly for the expansion joint splice to hold up under system operating conditions. ensureAsplice is the answer to assure that a splice is made correctly.

U.S. Bellows material is a thin, flexible, lightweight, PTFE material that clearly indicates when the proper conditions have been established for achieving a successful test splice on FLEXXCEL Fabric Expansion Joint materials. The U.S. Bellows material accomplishes this in two ways. First, a dramatic color change in the product during the splicing procedure ensures that the critical sealing temperature has been reached in the splice area. In addition, the material bonds to the expansion joint’s PTFE surface, confirming that sufficient pressure was applied during the splicing operation.

The sealing process requires that all splice components be assembled between the heat sealer and the product. As the splice heats up, the U.S. Bellows product changes from a light shade of red to a much darker shade of the red. The easily observed color change can only take place after the splice components have reached the critical sealing temperature required for PTFE products. If sufficient pressure has been applied as the color change occurs, the product will adhere to the expansion joint’s PTFE surface, confirming that the proper splicing conditions were achieved.

A successfully completed test splice utilizing the ensureAsplice material will ensure that the variables that exist during a field splice have been accounted for. The actual splice on the expansion joint can now be completed with confidence.

Variables to consider:

  1. Ambient conditions
  2. Length of extension cord
  3. Acceptable voltage
  4. Proper “backer board” usage
  5. Heat Seal Iron in good working condition
  6. Allow iron time to reach required temperature
  7. Be sure the green light is illuminated
  8. Proper amount of time used to splice
  9. Proper amount of pressure applied during splice
  10. Follow U.S. Bellows splice procedures

Items used to produce a test spliceShown are the items required to produce a test splice with the product
(Heat seal iron, backer board, FLEXXCEL belting material, PFA heat sealing film, ensureAsplice product, stapler, scissors, blade knife, tape measurer, marking pen)

2. Begin by placing the product on the “Backer Board” surface. Product being placed on backer board surface

3. Overlap the 2 pieces of FLEXXCEL belt material. The overlap should be the same width as the PFA Film. Make sure the PFA film is residing between the two belt ends in the overlap splice area. Staple the PFA Film in place.


View the full instructions at:

Universal Expansion Joints Designed for a Bioenergy Plant

March 2nd, 2013 Comments off

Universal Expansion Joints Designed for Bioenergy

These universal metallic expansion joints were custom designed for a pipe line in a bioengergy plant. They range from 20″ to 30″ in diameter, and are designed for 2″ lateral movement with a 1,362 lb/in. spring rate. The expansion joints are fabricated entirely from 304 stainless steel and designed for 250°F and 30 psig. Each unit was 100% dye penetrant examined and air tested prior to shipment.


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