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Selecting Expansion Joints in CPI Applications

By Eric Blazej, Proco Products Inc. |

In order to maximize longevity and minimize process downtime, it is imperative to understand the factors that determine the proper selection of expansion joints. The following guidelines can help with selection decisions for expansion joints Although sometimes overlooked or treated as an afterthought in a piping system, expansion joints are critical elements in chemical process industries (CPI) operations for providing flexibility and stress relief to piping systems. Failures in expansion joints can result in leaks of process fluids, with implications for personnel safety, environmental protection and operational uptime. Selecting the correct type of expansion joint for the process conditions will maximize the lifetime of the joint. By considering a full set of process characteristics when selecting expansion joints, plants can maximize production and operational uptime while still maintaining safety and environmental stewardship. Expansion joint types Expansion joints can be split into three general categories: rubber expansion joints, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) expansion joints and stainless-steel expansion joints (Figure 1). Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. In addition, there are multiple design variations…
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