• 05 August 2021

Testing Your Metal Expansion Joints in real life

When you use metal expansion joints in your piping and other systems, it is important to understand the testing process in order to ensure that your bellow expansion joint is up to code. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers code for expansion joints or ASME Code Expansion Joint strengthens those standards set by the Expansion Joint Manufacturers Association (EJMA), a trade group that establishes industry-wide standards for the use of expansion joints, such as those produced by bellow expansion joint manufacturers.

Here is a discussion of metal expansion joints, the types of common tests performed and how working with a manufacturer that has been certified by ASME can provide you with quality built expansion joints. This guidance may prove helpful when considering the important role that metal expansion joints play in your industrial and other applications that require the use of this important component. Working with an ASME certified manufacturer may be one way to ensure the reliability of your metal expansion joints and their proper function.

How Metal Expansion Joints Are Used

Metal expansion joints are used to compensate for the movement of heat through materials and component systems such as pipelines, machinery and containers. Metal expansion joints, like other types of expansion joints, deal with thermal expansion. Thermal expansion is a natural movement of material as it is impacted by heat or cold. An expansion joint compensates for both the expansion and contraction of certain materials in order to reduce the potential for or eliminate cracks or distortions in the material, which may lead to system failure.

Metal expansion joints accomplish the act of dealing with thermal expansion through bellows. Think of bellows in the same way they conduct the flow of air in order to produce sound as in the case of a pipe organ. The bellows in a metal expansion joint are designed to expand and contract to compensate for the change in temperature. Additional features that are a part of a metal expansion joint’s design are connectors and tie rods, depending on the way in which the joint is employed.

Determining if Metal Expansion Joints are Working Properly

Some of the common tests used for your metal expansion joints include high and low-frequency testing, heat transfer testing, spring rate testing, bellows burst testing and movement capacity testing. Each of these types of tests are used to provide information about the quality of the joints and if these metal expansion joints are meeting their stated requirements. Where a compromise in a metal expansion joint is uncovered, a plan can be implemented in order to prevent potential distortion or compromise of the system being protected by the joint.

The testing that is required of a metal expansion joint takes place through the efforts of a certified tester. The tester is one who meets the standards set forth by ASME, understanding the engineering requirements underlying the creation of the joint and what to look for in determining any potential for failure or system compromise. Any of the testing methods mentioned above may be employed appropriately to the type of metal expansion joint used and including external influences on the operation of the joint. These external influences include flow, pressure, ambient temperature and the age of the joint and system it aids.

Working with an ASME Certified Manufacturer to Meet Your Metal Expansion Joint Needs

ASME Certified manufacturers are those who meet the rigorous standards set forth by the organization. To be certified, a manufacturer must meet the standards not only set forth by ASME or EJMA but also the ISO 9001: 2008 certification requirements. These requirements govern the manufacturing process underlying the production of the joints, materials used, engineering standards and rigorous testing in order to ensure the quality of the metal expansion joint.

Why should you work with an ASME-certified manufacturer for your metal expansion joint needs? The answer is simply to ensure that the joints used in your system applications are up to the proper standards. The cost associated with identifying problems associated with metal expansion joints produced by non-ASME certified manufacturers more than exceed those associated with working initially with a properly certified firm. Short-term cost savings cannot make up for long-term expenses that will arise when a system failure occurs.

Make sure your metal expansion joints are built to last from the start by choosing to work with Badger Industries. At Badger, every expansion joint we manufacture undergoes countless stages of testing and inspection to ensure that your expansion joints are built to the highest quality standards in the industry. Discover what sets our expansion joints far beyond the rest and contact our team of expert engineers today!