Universal Tied Expansion Joints

Universal tied expansion joints, also known as universal tied or gimbal tied expansion joints, combine the characteristics of universal expansion joints and tied (guided) expansion joints. These specialized components are used in piping systems to accommodate multi-plane movement while restraining lateral movement. Here’s an overview of universal tied expansion joints:

  1. Purpose: Universal tied expansion joints are designed to absorb movement in multiple directions, including axial, lateral, and angular movement, while also restraining lateral deflection or offset between connected piping sections. They provide flexibility and allow for movement while maintaining the alignment and integrity of the piping system.

  2. Construction: These expansion joints typically consist of two bellows elements connected by a central hinge or gimbal arrangement, similar to universal expansion joints. Additionally, tie rods or hardware are incorporated to restrain lateral movement and provide stability to the bellows elements. The tie rods or hardware prevent lateral deflection while allowing axial and angular movement.

  3. Flexibility: Universal tied expansion joints offer flexibility in multiple planes, including axial, angular, and limited lateral movement. The bellows elements can extend, compress, and pivot to absorb movement in different directions, while the tie rods or hardware restrict lateral deflection or misalignment.

  4. Compensation for Multi-Plane Movement: Universal tied expansion joints are specifically designed to compensate for multi-plane movement or misalignment between connected piping sections. They can absorb axial expansion and contraction, angular rotation, and limited lateral movement, providing comprehensive movement accommodation while restraining excessive lateral deflection.

  5. Application: Universal tied expansion joints are commonly used in piping systems where movement occurs in multiple directions, such as pipelines subjected to ground settlement, expansion loops in HVAC systems, or piping systems connected to equipment with moving parts. They are particularly suitable for applications where lateral movement must be restrained to maintain alignment and prevent damage.

  6. Installation and Maintenance: Proper installation and maintenance are essential for the reliable performance of universal tied expansion joints. Installation should follow manufacturer guidelines, including proper alignment, anchoring, and support of the expansion joint. Regular inspection and maintenance help identify potential issues such as leaks, fatigue, or corrosion, allowing for timely repairs or replacements.

Universal tied expansion joints provide an effective solution for accommodating multi-plane movement while restraining lateral deflection in piping systems. Proper selection and installation of these expansion joints are crucial to ensure the efficient operation and longevity of the piping system.

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