There have been various attempts to deal with the optimization of solutions which involve expansion joints in piping systems where sufficient flexibility can’t be found using suitable pipe routing.

The difficulty of piping designs which involve expansion joints is that they rely upon two engineering expertises: Pipe Flexibility and Stress Analysis on one side and Expansion Joint Design and Construction on the other. Arguably distinctively different, they have been looked upon as totally detached engineering disciplines and it is rarely that companies have two of these experts residing under the same roof. Pipe Stress Engineers basically relied on support form Expansion Joint Experts on “as required basis” and called upon their knowledge only when needed. Thus, we have the situation where knowledge related to the design and construction of expansion joints sits with expansion joints manufacturing companies, which are totally separate and often remote entities in the piping design process.

Even so, the ever present demand for techno-economical optimizations, points us to the following observations.

The “Traditional method”, where Pipe Stress Engineer defines on his own the requirements for expansion joints and describes them in the technical specification for purchasing is, or should be, a theme of the past.

This approach may be used only as a first attempt in search for the solution, but given that it never heads in the direction of achieving optimal techno-economical results, needs to be upgraded with additional steps.

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