Chapter 2
Bellows-Type Pipe Expansion Joints: Pressure Thrust and Other Pitfalls


One topic of frequent concern is pitfalls in the use of bellows-type inline expansion joints to control thermal expansion of a pipeline as it either heats up or cools down from the ambient to the operating temperature.The chief pitfall is failure to account for pressure thrust, which is created by regular bellows joints and transmitted to piping restraints and terminal connections.

See Figure 2-1 for pictorial illustrations of regular manufactured bellows joints.

We will briefly cover what bellows joints are, what they do, how they are intended to work, and how to avoid the serious pitfalls associated with careless usage of them.

  • Pitfall #1: Fatigue Failure
  • Pitfall #2: Unplanned Failure
  • Pitfall #3: Failure to Provide Adequate Restraint against Bellows Generated Pressure Thrust Forces

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