How to Choose Between Metal or Rubber Joints

A wide range of industries utilize metal expansion joints. These joints are used on pipes in order to prevent movement while controlling thermal expansion. That being said, there are two main types of metal expansion joints to choose from. In this post, you’ll learn three main differences between metal and rubber pipe expansion joints.

  1. Temperature Concerns

    Pipes allow materials to travel long distances. However, it’s important to know that these pipes are often placed in extreme temperature ranges. During these situations, it’s imperative to find expansion joints that can withstand these temperatures. In most cases, rubber expansion joints are able to withstand temperatures up to 230 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re working in more extreme conditions, you’ll likely want to choose metal expansion joints which are able to withstand temperatures up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Flexibility

    During certain situations, you’ll need to place pipes in slightly awkward positions. Therefore, it’s wise to consider using rubber expansion joints for these situations. Single expansion joints are commonly used when pipe expansion takes places in an axial direction. Rubber is known to be much more flexible than metal expansion joints. If you’re placing pipes in a lateral manner, it’s often difficult for metal bellows to meet flexibility concerns. Therefore, rubber joints are often utilized in locations where flexibility and space matters.
  3. Withstanding Large Amounts of Pressure

    It’s also important to be aware of pressure concerns while installing or modifying pipes. In most cases, multi ply bellows will be used to control excessive amounts of pressure. Multi ply bellows can include two to five tubes, depending on the application. If you’re wanting additional protection in high pressure environments, it’s usually best to choose metal expansion joints.

To summarize, pipe expansion joints are utilized within multiple industries. In fact, statistics from July 2017 found that there were 178,400 people employed by the Oil and Gas Extraction Industry throughout the United States. Whether using double or single expansion joints, these items allow workers to better control temperature and pressure changes. Rubber and metal expansion joints allow piping to remain safely and securely connected. If you’re concerned about excess temperature and pressure, choose metal joints. If flexibility is your main concern, it’s often wise to choose expansion joints made from rubber.

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