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Exploring the Functionality of Metal Expansion Joints: A Comprehensive Guide

Metal expansion joints are unsung heroes in the realm of industrial piping systems, quietly ensuring the integrity and functionality of critical structures. As we delve into the intricacies of these components, it becomes evident that their role is pivotal in various industries. One key player in this arena is Bellows Systems Inc., a leading provider of metal expansion joints. Let’s embark on a journey to understand what metal expansion joints are and why they are indispensable.

What Are Metal Expansion Joints?

Metal expansion joints, also known as compensators or expansion bellows, are crucial components in piping systems designed to absorb thermal expansion or contraction, vibrations, and misalignments. These flexible connectors consist of convoluted metal bellows, end fittings, and tie rods, working in harmony to accommodate movements within the system.

How Do Metal Expansion Joints Work?

The functionality of metal expansion joints lies in their ability to flex and absorb movements caused by temperature variations or mechanical vibrations. By doing so, they prevent undue stress on the piping system, ensuring longevity and reliability.

Applications of Metal Expansion Joints

Industrial Sector

In industries such as petrochemical plants, power generation, and chemical processing, metal expansion joints play a crucial role in accommodating the extreme conditions and dynamic movements inherent in these environments.

HVAC Systems

In heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, metal expansion joints facilitate the seamless operation of ducts and pipes, mitigating the impact of thermal expansion and contraction.

Transportation Industry

From automotive applications to aerospace, metal expansion joints contribute to the efficiency and safety of various transportation systems by absorbing vibrations and accommodating movements.

Advantages of Metal Expansion Joints

Stress Reduction

Metal expansion joints act as stress absorbers, minimizing the impact of thermal expansion, vibration, and noise, thereby protecting the integrity of the entire piping system.

Prolonging Equipment Lifespan

By reducing stress and fatigue on connected equipment, metal expansion joints contribute to prolonging the lifespan of critical components, resulting in significant cost savings over time.

Selection and Installation Guidelines

Factors Influencing Metal Expansion Joint Selection

Choosing the right metal expansion joint involves considerations such as temperature and pressure requirements, material compatibility, and the specific needs of the application.

Proper Installation Practices

Ensuring proper alignment, support, and maintenance are crucial for the effective performance of metal expansion joints. Following recommended installation practices can enhance their durability and functionality.

As we conclude our exploration of metal expansion joints, their importance cannot be overstated. Choosing the right partner for your expansion joint needs is crucial, and Bellows Systems Inc. stands as a testament to excellence in this field. Whether in the industrial, HVAC, or transportation sector, the role of metal expansion joints is undeniable, ensuring the seamless operation and longevity of critical systems.

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KVS Expansion Joint

Ingersoll Rand KVS Engine Exhaust Manifold to Turbo Expansion Joint

At Bellows Systems, we take pride in designing and manufacturing high-quality metal bellows and expansion joints for a wide range of industries. Our exhaust service rated expansion joint designs for OEMs and OEM direct replacement have been in service for over 40 years.

KVS expansion joints and assembly kits and are specifically designed to be direct replacements for Ingersoll Rand (IR) exhaust expansion joints. These expansion joints are drop-in replacements for OEM part numbers 1R20959B, 1R20959D, and are designed to fit seamlessly into the IR exhaust system.

Bellows Systems manufactures direct replacement for IR exhaust expansion joints, drop in-liner and gaskets for OEM parts numbers,

  • Expansion Joints – 1R20959B,1R20959D
  • Sleeve – 1W40171
  • Gaskets – 1W47349, 1W40030

Our premium KVS expansion joints offer dual floating flanges with formed Vanstone’s and significant improvement in bellows cycle life compared to the OEM parts.

In addition to the KVS expansion joints, we also manufactured complete exhaust manifold kits for KVS engines. The drop-in liners and gaskets were made from high temperature corrosion resistant austenitic stainless steels and are designed to provide superior performance and reliability.

At Bellows Systems, we understand the importance of keeping your equipment running reliably, which is why we offer premium replacement parts that are designed to meet or exceed OEM specifications. Our KVS expansion joints are built to last and are an ideal choice for reliable operations.

To learn more about our premium KVS expansion joints and other replacement parts for Ingersoll Rand exhaust systems, visit our Exhaust Bellows page on our website.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our products, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Seal bellows

Bellows Systems Delivers High-Performance Metal Bellows for Aerospace Sealing Application

At Bellows Systems, we take pride in designing and manufacturing high-quality metal bellows and expansion joints for a wide range of industries. Recently, we delivered a batch of metal bellows that were specifically designed for aerospace sealing application.

Aerospace Seal Bellows
Aerospace Seal Bellows
Aerospace Seal Bellows

Our metal seal bellows are used in both static and dynamic sealing applications, and they are capable of withstanding operating pressures and temperatures that are beyond the capability of standard elastomeric seals. We can manufacture seal bellows in standard round, oval, and rectangular profiles. The standard material of construction can be stainless steelshigh nickel alloyscopper alloystitanium, and other metal alloys depending on the application.

For this project, our design team customized the design of the bellows to meet the specific needs of the space industry customer. We considered key factors such as the seal bellows spring rate, overall stiffness, and high-temperature resistance to ensure that our metal bellows would perform optimally in the challenging environment of aerospace sealing applications.

Our metal seal bellows are designed to provide superior performance and reliability under challenging service conditions ranging full vacuum and cryogenic temperatures to high pressure and temperatures.

 At Bellows Systems, we are committed to delivering high-quality metal bellows and expansion joints that meet the needs of our customers. Whether you need standard or customized solutions, our team of bellows and expansion joint experts are ready to work with you to design and manufacture the perfect product for your application.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our metal bellows and expansion joints, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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What is a bellows liner? And when to use one?

What is a bellows liner? And when to use one?

Bellows Liner is an internal sleeve that is used for the following cases,

  • To prevent flow induced resonant vibration of bellows due to high flow velocities
  • To reduce possibility of erosion from abrasive flow media 
  • To limit/ minimize the friction losses and create a smooth flow
  • To limit/ decrease the surface temperature of the bellows in high temperature applications. 

Recommendations for proper design and use of a flow liner?

  • The liner material should either be same as the bellows material or suitable for the application.
  • When sizing a flow liner proper considerations must be given for the flow velocity, liner length and temperature of the flow media.
  •  When there is possibility for reverse flow, or bi-directional flow use of telescoping liner is recommended.
  • When used in applications with abrasive media use thicker liner material to prevent failure in the liner and exposing the thinner bellows material to erosion.
  • When lateral deflection or angular rotation is present, the liner should be designed with sufficient radial clearance to prevent interference with ID of the bellows through the entire movement range.
  • When bellows are installed vertically in the direction of the flow, proper drain holes shall be provided on the liner to drain fluid from being trapped.

For our full range of bellows and exapnsions joint products

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Marine Exhaust Expansion Joint

Marine Exhaust Expansion Joint

All stainless steel metal Expansion Joint for Naval Vessels Main Propulsion Diesel Engine (MPDE). Bellows Systems originally designed and supplied the 36” expansion joints in 2007. The expansion joints have a 2 ply 321 stainless steel bellows element rated for 5000 cycles. 

To learn more about our products for marine and shipping industry visit, Marine expansion joints

Or visit, Exhaust system for engines

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LSV-16 Exhaust Manifold

LSV-16 Exhaust Manifold

Bellows Systems has delivered another new  built LSV-16 Exhaust Manifold. LSV-16 engine has an external water jacket cooled exhaust manifold with all stainless steel exhaust tubing and high performance Inconel bellows.

To learn more about our line-up exhaust manifold products for Cooper Bessemer engines visit, Cooper Bessemer Engines Exhaust System

We manufacture a complete line up of exhaust bellows and exhaust manifolds for large industrial engines. 

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Exhaust Bellows and Expansion Joints for Cooper Engines

Bellows Systems manufactures and stocks OEM and aftermarket bellows and expansion joints for a complete line of Cooper Engines.

In addition to standard parts, our catalogue includes an extensive list of premium expansion joints that provide performance upgrades over OEM designs and have become industry standard for dependable performance and long service life.

Order by Cooper part number or check our easy cross-reference for corresponding BSI part numbers.


C-B Part # C-B Superceded # BSI Part #
2-05P-002-001 969-623-0410
2-05P-002-002 969-623-1210
2-05P-002-003 969-623-1216
2-05P-002-004 969-623-0406
2-05P-002-005 969-623-0456
2-05P-002-006 969-623-1613
2-05P-002-007 969-623-1804
2-05P-002-008 969-623-1612
2-05P-003-001 2-05P-003 969-823-2407
2-05P-021-001 969-653-5507
2-05P-021-002 969-653-5506
2-05P-021-003 969-653-5508
2-05P-021-201 969-653-5907
2-05P-021-202 969-653-0606-01
2-05P-021-203 969-653-0608-01
2-05P-021-401 969-653-0406
2-05P-023-202 969-653-0609
2-05P-023-203 969-653-0608
2-05P-029-001 969-653-0610
2-05P-033-001 969-653-6706
2-05P-063-001 969-653-1908
2-05P-129-130 969-823-1420
2-05P-135-001 969-623-2424
2-05P-136-001 969-623-2813
2-05P-164-001 2-05P-009-002 969-823-3607
2-05P-164-002 2-05P-009-004 969-823-3006
2-05P-164-003 2-05P-009-009 969-823-2807
2-05P-164-004 2-05P-009-001 969-623-2007
2-05P-164-005 2-05P-009-003 969-823-1606
2-05P-164-006 2-05P-009-010 969-823-1606-01
2-05P-164-007 2-05P-009-006 969-653-0810
2-05P-164-008 2-05P-009-005 969-823-4007
2-05P-164-009 2-05P-009-012 969-653-2611
2-05P-164-010 969-623-0612
2-05P-164-011 969-623-0406
2-05P-164-012 969-623-1106
2-05P-164-013 969-623-2006
2-05P-164-014 969-623-0616
2-05P-164-015 969-623-0617
2-05P-164-016 969-623-0618
2-05P-164-017 969-623-0619
2-05P-164-018 969-623-0620
2-05P-164-019 969-623-0621
2-05P-164-020 969-653-0520
2-05P-164-021 969-653-1307
2-05P-009-007 969-653-1206
2-05P-009-008 969-823-4006

With over four decades of expertise, we continue to innovate and provide superior products for a whole range of integral compressor engines.

Contact us for a complete list of bellows, expansion joints, and exhaust system products.  Proudly supporting the American Gas Compression Industry.


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36 Inch custom Pressure balanced expansion joint

Bellows Systems designs and delivers a 36 Inch Custom Pressure balanced expansion joint to a major aerospace engine manufacturer.

Bellows Systems Inc, recently shipped a 36 Inch custom Pressure balanced expansion joint to a major aerospace engine manufacturer. This pressure-balanced expansion joint will be used in a jet engine test facility in Florida to upgrade existing piping.

36 inch Custom Pressure Balanced Expansion Joint

The project was delivered within 10 weeks from design concept to delivery. As per the client’s requirement, we used Stainless Steel 304 Grade to build this 36-inch x 120-inch Expansion Joint.

A Pressure Balanced Expansion Joint (Elbow type) is normally a double bellows Expansion Joint with a side outlet between the bellows. The ends of the bellows are tied together so that as one bellows compresses due to axial movement, the opposing bellows open an equivalent amount.

Bellows Systems Inc designs and manufactures metal bellows, expansion joints, exhaust systems, and associated products. Our products are used in diverse industries such as Oil and Gas Transmission, Petrochemical plants and Refineries, Power Generation, Automotive, Aerospace and Defense, and many more.

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36 Inch Universal Expansion Joint

Bellows Systems Inc ships another 36 Inch Universal Expansion Joint with Tie-Rods for an Oil Storage facility in West Africa!

As one of the Pioneers of the Expansion Joint industry Bellows Systems Inc recently shipped another 36 Inch [ 2.8 m long ] universal expansion joint with tie-rods. This high-pressure universal expansion joint will be used in an Oil Storage facility in West Africa.

Bellows Systems Inc undertook this project for an Oil tank rehab and expedited the entire process from design to fabrication within 6 weeks to meet the client’s tight timelines. As per the requirement, this was built with Stainless Steel Type 316 and was designed to take both axial and lateral movement.

36 Inch Universal Expansion Joint and tie rods

Universal Expansion Joints are normally designed to absorb any combination of axial and lateral movement and angular rotation in multi-plane piping arrangements. They are extremely well suited to the absorption of large amounts of lateral displacement.

Based in Houston, the Energy Capital of the World, Bellows Systems designs and manufactures metal bellows, expansion joints, exhaust systems, and associated products. Our products are used in diverse industries such as Oil and Gas Transmission, Petrochemical plants and Refineries, Power Generation, Automotive, Aerospace and Defense, and many more.

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Exhaust manifold for cooper bessmer z-350

Exhaust Manifold for Cooper Bessemer Z-330

40 Inch ID Exhaust Manifold for Cooper Bessemer Z-330

Bellows Systems recently shipped another set of Exhaust Manifold sections for Z-330 engine. Z-330 is the largest of the Copper Bessemer 2 stroke Integral Compressor Engines. The Z-330 exhaust manifold has 40inch ID dry manifold. 

Exhaust Manifold for Cooper Bessemer Z-330

The OEM sectioned manifolds for Z330, W330 and V250 engines have several problems that have been observed during continuous service. These issues are discussed in detail BSI service bulletin (SB-100) first issued in July 1983. These include,

Inner shell crack on an OEM Z330 manifold common section.
  • The 40in tube cracks around the junction of the cylinder exhaust chute.
  • The exhaust chute from the base flange to the inner shell/tube cracks.
  • The removable insulation blanket deteriorates over time.

BSI dry manifolds for Z330 have numerous improvements over the OEM units. These include,

  • The 40” inner shell construction using thicker (3/8”) wall plate.
  • The  cylinder chute to inner shell/tube weld is CJP (100% penetration) and back welded on the inside.
  • 3/4” thk. stainless steel rod stiffeners
  • The outside insulation jacket includes 2” thick ceramic fiber  insulation.
  • Fiber glass cloth covered insulation blankets for the expansion joint and bolt gap. Both of which are covered under metal insulation cover.

All structural problems encountered in the OEM manifold are addressed

Bellows Systems also offers conversion from 1 piece or 2-piece manifold to fully sectional dry manifolds.

Bellows Systems continues to innovate and provide superior Exhaust System products for the Natural Gas Compression Industry. We manufacture exhaust manifolds and support all major legacy integral gas compressor engines.

40Inch ID Exhaust Manifold for Cooper Bessemer Z-330

Learn more about Exhaust Manifold products for Cooper Bessemer Engines at, our Cooper Bessemer Exhaust Systems

For a comprehensive list of our exhaust manifold products for gas compression and power gen industry please  visit us at, Exhaust Manifolds

Please contact us at or (800) 233-0623.

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