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Flanged and Flued Bellows Expansion Joints

Flanged and flued bellows can be the right answer to piping, ducting and vessel thermal growth problems over that of conventional thin walled metal bellows.

The advantages of a heavy convolution (with thicknesses up to 1/2″) is its ability to hold up to mechanical damage. Dents and gouges create stress risers in thin bellows which results in fatigue cracks over time. Cracking of any type is very difficult to weld repair on thin bellows (typically .06″ wall or thinner) but can be performed with plant maintenance staff on heavy walled bellows. The thicker wall also hold up better to corrosion attacks – an added benefit is the common use of carbon steel material which is almost never used on thinner bellows in lieu of stainless steel or nickel alloys. drain couplings can also be added to the bottom of the flanged and flued convolution to prevent a build up of condensate.

The most common application for flanged and flued expansion joint is ASME code heat exchangers, and is the preferred bellows of choice as the movement is exclusively axial. The heavy walled, deep convolution is durable, and should last the life of the exchanger. The down side to the heavy wall design is the increase in stiffness which can over-stress the heat exchanger tube sheet.

Many engineering firms have banned the use of thin walled bellows expansion joints in process piping due to fear of field misapplications that may result in a failure. With a flanged and flued bellows those fears are unfounded as the heavy wall is about as fool proof an expansion joint as can be expected.

Source by Greg Perkins

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