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Universal Hinged Fabric Expansion Joints for a Chemical Plant in Delaware

Hinged Fabric Expansion Joints for a Chemical Plant in Delaware
U.S. Bellows designed these hinged universal fabric expansion joints for a chemical plant in Delaware. The expansion joints are 84″ in diameter and 60″ OAL. The fabric belt is made with PTFE while the rest of the components are from carbon steel. The expansion joints are designed for an operating temperature of 650°F at 1 psig and 1/2″ of angular movement. The units were 100% dye-penetrate examined was performed prior to shipment.


Custom Designed Externally Pressurized Expansion Joints for a Flare Header Application at a Mississippi Refinery

Custom Designed Externally Pressurized Expansion Joints for a Flare Header Application in Mississippi

Type: Externally Pressurized Expansion Joint
Size: 133 11/16″ and 120.5″ Long | Both Have 42″ Pipe Dia.
Design: Inconel 625 | Carbon Steel
Material: 450°F at 108 psig & 31″ and 25″ Axial Compression
Testing: Hydro-tested at 167, PMI, 100% X-Ray, and Dye-Penetrant

U.S. Bellows custom designed these externally pressurized expansion joints for a flare header application at a refinery in Mississippi. One unit measures 133-11/16" long and the other measures 120-1/2" long and both are manufactured for a 42" pipe diameter. The bellows were fabricated from Inconel 625 and used in conjunction with a carbon steel pipe per A671-CC-60 CL.22. The carbon steel pipe is finished with a 2-coat paint system for corrosion protection. They are manufactured for a design pressure of 108 psig at 450°F with 31" and 25" of axial compression. All alloy material was PMI inspected. The units were hydro tested at 167 psig, 100% dye-penetrant tested, and the bellows and pipe weld seams were 100% X-ray tested prior to shipment.

Expansion joint applications are varied depending on the type of plant. Some applications include:

  • Exhaust systems for Aerospace, Trucks, Marine Piping
  • Solid waste incineration for Renewables and Biofuel plants
  • Waste Water Treatment plants for Municipal water districts as well as manufacturing plants
  • Kilns in Mining, Food, and Plastics plants
  • Geothermal Plants
  • Gas Turbines
  • FCC units
  • Heat exchangers
  • Steam distribution in Geothermal plants
  • Water cooling systems for Nuclear power plants such as inlet of condenser cooling water from lakes or large bodies of water
  • Thermal Oxidizer systems in polymer processing
  • Boller Duct Expansions
  • Vacuum Jacketed piping systems in LNG

We have built, supplied, installed, replaced, audited, repaired, and tested expansion joints for most piping systems applications. Our in-house expertise in handling different types of materials needed for expansion joints made of carbon steel, stainless, alloy steel, high nickel alloys, and aluminum spans over our 48 years of work. Welding specialties include TIG, pulse-arc MIG, SMAW, SUB-ARC, and Aluminium. Our qualifications for expansion joints are ASME Section IX, AWS D1.1, NS, and MIL-STD-248. Testing can specified to include any or all of the following depending on project and application requirements:

  • magnetic particle-dry method
  • Liquid penetrant-visible and fluorescent
  • Ultrasonic and radiography
  • Hydrostatic and Pneumatic testing

US Bellows, a subsidiary of Piping Technology and Products, is a member of the EJMA association which maintains a set of standards for quality expansion joint design and manufacturing. The standards are used as a worldwide reference for the proper selection and application of expansion joints.


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Fabric Expansion Joint for an Inlet Duct Application at a Gas Turbine Facility

Fabric Expansion Joint for an Inlet Volute Duct Application at a Gas Turbine Facility

 Type:  Fabric Expansion Joint
 Size:  143″ long x 61″ wide x 12″ face-to-face
 Material:  PTFE Fiberglass Reinforced Fabric Belt & 304 Stainless Steel
 Design:  -20°F to 600°F , +/- 100″ water column, 0.5″ Axial & 1″ Lateral
 Testing:  Dye-Penetrant

U.S. Bellows fabricated this rectangular fabric expansion joint for an inlet duct application at a gas turbine facility. The unit is 143″ long x 61″ wide x 12″ face-to-face. The fabric belt is made from reinforced PTFE fiberglass and the frame and liner from 304 stainless steel. It is designed for an operating temperature ranging from -20°F to 600°F with a pressure of +/- 100″ water column, with 0.5″ of axial compression and 1″ of lateral deflection. A dye-penetrant examination was performed on all the structural frame welds prior to shipment.

Fabric expansion joints are used in a wide array of applications playing a crucial role in preventing damage to equipment, ensuring system reliability, and maintaining overall safety in industrial processes. Some examples of where they are used are:

    • Cement plants for ducts and exhaust systems associated with high temperature operations.


    • Mining industry for mineral and material handling including smelting.


    • HVAC systems for duct work to address any thermal movements or vibrations.


    • Marine and shipbuilding applications where exhaust systems, engine piping and other critical areas movement and vibrations must be managed.


    • Renewable energy facilities such a waste to energy or bioenergy plants in which the incineration operations are critical.


    • Paper and Pulp mills for ducting systems in drying and paper manufacturing processes.


    • Steel Mills for blast furnace systems and exhausting ducts


    • Chemical plants to handle dynamic forces associated with chemical reactions, temperature variations and corrosive environments.


  • Power plants: Fossil Fuel and Nuclear plants to manage vibrations and thermal axial expansion that could stress components and fixed equipment.


Rectangular Expansion Joints Custom Designed for an Air Fan Ducting Application in Texas

Usbellows rectangular expansion joint 166850


 Type:  Rectangular Expansion Joints
 Size:  37-3/8″ Wide | 65″ Long | 16″ FTF
 Material:  304 Stainless Steel | Carbon Steel
 Design:  250°F Operating Temperature @ 5 psig
 Testing:  100% Dye-Penetrant

U.S. Bellows custom-designed two of these rectangular expansion joints for an air fan ducting application at a chemical facility in Texas. They are 37-3/8″ wide, 65″ long, and 16″ face-to-face. The bellows and liner were fabricated from 304 stainless steel, with the rest of the components from carbon steel. The units are designed for an operating temperature of 250°F at 5 psig. The expansion joints were 100% dye-penetrant tested prior to shipment.

Rectangular expansion joints have many applications in which they are used. They can be used in blast furnaces in steel processing facilities, APH Air preheaters in refineries, and for ducting in large systems in many industries in petrochem, mining, LNG and steel mills. We have built over 400 such units over the last couple of years of varying metallurgy ranging from carbon steel to stainless to inconel. We currently have inconel units in production for a large LNG facility to meet the newly established FERC requirements around spillage, environmental considerations, and, most importantly, safety.

Manufacturing expansion joints involves a precise blend of scientific principles and manufacturing craftsmanship. Rectangular expansion joints present distinctive challenges, particularly in relation to edge welding requirements. Without the necessary expertise, there is a risk of encountering issues such as sugaring—a form of oxidation that arises when an inadequate amount of purging gas is utilized during welding.

It’s worth noting that circumferential welds in typical round expansion joints, which are both welded and formed simultaneously, do not face the same concerns. In contrast, rectangular expansion joints undergo a two-step process where they are first formed and then welded, introducing unique considerations.

We conduct thorough in-house testing for all our expansion joints, encompassing a comprehensive range of assessments:

  • Burst Testing
  • Dye Penetration testing
  • Fatigue/Cycle Testing
  • Hydrostatic testing
  • Helium Leak testing
  • Ultrasonic Testing
  • Radiography Testing
  • PMI Testing
  • Pneumatic Testing
  • Magnetic Particle Testing
  • Leak Detection Testing.

Rectangular expansion joints represent a subset of the assessments conducted for typical round expansion joints. Specifically, for rectangular expansion joints, we perform leak, hydro, and pneumatic testing.