Things You Should Know About Expansion Joints

An expansion joint is a type of connector between two building parts. These joints are designed to safely absorb the expansion and contraction of building materials caused by changes in temperature and vibration. They also allow for movement caused by earthquakes and ground settlement. Hence, they are essential for the safety of a structure. If you are considering installing expansion joints in your building, here are some things you should know.

Functions

There are many different types of expansion joints, and each one serves a specific purpose. Some are used in road construction, others in the treatment of footways or verges. Whatever the purpose, the expansion joints should provide smooth rides for both drivers and passengers. They should also be easily maintainable and inspected to ensure their performance.

Expansion joints are used to accommodate movement in piping systems caused by mechanical and thermal changes. As the temperature in the system changes, metal components in piping will expand and contract, and the expansion joint is used to minimize the transfer of forces to sensitive components.

Types

There are various types of expansion joints. Some are fabric-based, others are made of metal. These include gimbal, toroidal, and universal types. Some are also refractory-lined. Copper is a good choice for expansion joints because it will withstand the movement of a building’s components over time. It is also durable and can be molded to fit different roof conditions and roof edges.

The types of expansion joints you need will depend on the type and location of your support system. You’ll also want to consider factors such as the ground’s preparation. In a warehouse, for instance, support columns will typically be arranged at about 100 to 130 feet apart. If you’re designing a commercial space, support columns may be spaced as far as 350 feet. The expansion joints are typically placed in the vicinity of these support columns.

Installation

Before installing an expansion joint, it is important to determine the exact clearance. This expansion joints can be determined by looking at the overall length and convolution geometry of the joint. You can also check the clearance at critical points on the Expansion Joint and elsewhere in the system. In either case, it is important to make sure the system is clear of any debris.

The correct distance to install an expansion joint is at least one half inch longer than the length of the pipe that is to be spanned. You can avoid overlapping the expansion joints by making sure they are parallel to one another.

Maintenance

Proper maintenance of expansion joints is critical for your plant’s uptime and efficiency. These joints are susceptible to damage and require frequent inspections to prevent catastrophic failures. Proper inventory, periodic follow-up inspections, and analysis of prematurely failing joints are all part of a comprehensive maintenance plan. Gallagher Fluid Seals can help you implement a preventative maintenance plan for your expansion joints.

The first step in the maintenance process is to inspect the expansion joint tubes. Excessive movement of the joints can erode the tube’s strength and cause leakage. This will eventually lead to cracking. Another important step is to conduct a pressure test. It should be performed at one-half to one-half times the design pressure to make sure that the joints are in good condition.