5 Problems Thermal Expansion Can Cause in a Pipe System

April 24, 2023
5 Problems Thermal Expansion Can Cause in a Pipe System

It is quite common for pipes to expand and contract due to temperature changes. However, they can also be a major problem for your business’s piping system. You can help yourself by being aware of the issues they can cause. Read below to learn about five problems thermal expansion can cause in a pipe system.

Bent Pipes

One problem that thermal expansion can cause is bending in a straight pipe. In addition, if the pipe is bound at both ends in the axial direction, it may eventually burst if the stress becomes too much to handle.


Another problem thermal expansion can cause in a pipe system is leakage. If you have a badly designed pipe system, it can result in thermal expansion that hurts the flanges and causes them to leak, leading to many problems for you and your business.

Broken Pipe Supports

Thermal expansion can also hurt the supports that carry a pipe’s weight. For example, this pressure can cause pipe shoes, guides, supporting steel, and line stop lugs to break, bend, or experience other harm. You may also discover that the pipe shoe has lifted itself off a support structure, which can also result from expansion or stress.

Nozzle Damage

A fourth way that thermal expansion can hurt your pipe system is that it can cause damage to the nozzles on your equipment by bending or cracking them. It is common to see these on pressure vessels and tanks with thin walls or as a warp in the shell around your nozzle.

Extended Elbows

Finally, a fifth problem that can result from thermal expansion is a bent piping elbow. You may find that the elbow has extended or compressed too far.

There are several ways to prevent thermal expansion from damaging your pipes, including using pressure-balanced expansion joints. One reason you need these joints is that they will help lower the pressure transferred to connected equipment and absorb axial and lateral moments. You can avoid future piping issues and enable your business to run more smoothly.

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