How to choose Materials for bellows

The Ultimate Guide to Selecting Stainless and High-Nickel Alloys for Corrosive Services​

In industries that operate in corrosive environments, such as chemical processing, power generation, and oil and gas, the durability and reliability of metal bellows and expansion joints are crucial. These components must accommodate thermal expansion, vibrations, and other mechanical stresses while resisting corrosion. The choice between stainless steels and high-nickel alloys is vital for ensuring long-term functionality and safety. This article explores the considerations necessary for selecting the right materials for these applications.

Selecting Stainless and High-Nickel Alloys for Corrosive Services​

Why Choose Bellows Systems?
Hydroformed Metal Bellows

Metal bellows and expansion joints are exposed to a variety of corrosive elements that can degrade materials through chemical reactions. These environments might include high concentrations of acids, bases, or salts, and can involve high temperatures and pressures. The primary corrosive factors to consider include the chemical concentration, temperature, presence of oxidizing or reducing agents, and mechanical stress factors like vibration and pressure fluctuations.


Stainless Steels for Metal Bellows and Expansion Joints:

Stainless Steel Expansion Joints
Stainless Steel Expansion Joints

Stainless steels are favored for their corrosion resistance, mechanical properties, and cost-effectiveness. Types 304, 316, and 317 are commonly used in the fabrication of metal bellows and expansion joints:

  • Type 304: An 18-8 austenitic stainless steel suitable for moderate corrosive environments. It is often chosen for its flexibility and fatigue resistance in lower temperature and concentration applications.
  • Type 316: Known for its enhanced resistance to chloride ion corrosion, it is better suited for marine applications and environments with higher chloride levels. It is ideal for bellows that require higher strength and corrosion resistance.
  • Type 317: Offers higher resistance than Type 316 and is suitable for more aggressive corrosive environments, often used in chemical processes involving stronger acids or higher temperatures.
  • Type 321: Similar to Type 304 but with added titanium to stabilize the alloy against chromium carbide formation. Type 321 is particularly valuable in applications where temperatures fluctuate sharply, such as in aircraft exhaust systems, industrial power generation systems or high temperature ducting. Its superior resistance to intergranular corrosion makes it ideal for bellows that experience both high temperatures and corrosive conditions.
  • Alloy 20: Known for its exceptional corrosion resistance to sulfuric acid and other aggressive environments, Alloy 20 (also known as Carpenter 20) is a nickel-chromium-molybdenum stainless steel alloy often used in applications involving sulfuric acid. Its robustness makes it an excellent choice for chemical processing equipment, including metal bellows and expansion joints that require high corrosion resistance and durability against acid attack.

The selection of a particular grade of stainless steel depends on balancing performance, environmental conditions, and cost. Each type offers different levels of corrosion resistance, durability, and adaptability to environmental stresses.

High-Nickel Alloys for Extreme Conditions:

Hydroformed Metal Bellows
Hydroformed Metal Bellows

In conditions where stainless steels might falter, high-nickel alloys provide superior performance. These alloys are especially effective in severe corrosive environments or in applications involving high temperatures:

  • Monel (Nickel-Copper): Excellent for sea water and acidic conditions, making it suitable for offshore oil and gas applications where bellows are exposed to harsh marine environments.
  • Inconel (Nickel-Chromium-Iron): Capable of withstanding extreme temperatures and pressures, ideal for power generation applications where high temperature resistance is crucial.
  • Hastelloy (Nickel-Molybdenum-Chromium): Exceptional in resisting pitting and stress corrosion cracking, commonly used in chemical processing industries where strong acids are present.

These high-nickel alloys are selected for their ability to maintain structural integrity and corrosion resistance under extreme conditions, thereby extending the lifespan of bellows and joints.

Case Studies and Practical Applications:

For instance, Hastelloy alloys have been employed effectively in expansion joints within sulfuric acid plants, where they resist the aggressive corrosion typically seen with fluctuating acid concentrations and temperatures. Monel has been utilized in refining processes to handle sour gas streams, where its resistance to sulfide stress cracking is critical.

Selecting the Right Alloy:

The selection process for metal bellows and expansion joints involves evaluating:

Environmental Conditions: Chemical nature, temperature, and mechanical stresses.

Material Properties: Fatigue strength, flexibility, corrosion resistance.

Cost and Availability: Initial cost vs. lifecycle cost, availability of materials.

Testing and real-world performance data are invaluable in making informed decisions. Simulated environment testing and historical performance in similar applications can guide the selection process.


Choosing the right material for metal bellows and expansion joints in corrosive environments is a complex decision with significant safety and financial implications. Stainless steels offer a balance of cost and performance for less severe environments, while high-nickel alloys are preferable for extreme conditions. Understanding the specific operational demands and conducting thorough material evaluations are essential for optimizing the durability and performance of these critical components. As technology advances, the development of new materials and improvement of existing ones will continue to enhance the capabilities of metal bellows and expansion joints in challenging industrial applications.

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Bellows Systems’ Nadcap® Accreditation Makes Headlines in Aerospace News!

Bellows Systems, Inc. is making waves in the aerospace industry as we proudly announce our recent Nadcap® accreditation for Resistance Seam Welding and metallographic welding examination. What makes this achievement even more exciting is that the news is buzzing about it

In a recent press release covered by top-tier aerospace news outlets, we highlighted our commitment to continuous quality improvement and strict adherence to aerospace industry standards. Alpha Mahatvaraj, our CEO, expressed the significance of receiving Nadcap® accreditation, stating, “It demonstrates our ongoing commitment to continual improvement in quality. We remain focused on satisfying customer needs and delivering products in strict adherence to aerospace industry standards and specifications.”

Jay Solomond, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Performance Review Institute, emphasized the global recognition of Nadcap® accreditation as a hallmark of quality. He praised Bellows Systems for achieving Nadcap® accreditation for Resistance Seam Welding and metallographic weld examination, acknowledging the hard work and dedication of our team.

The coverage extends beyond the accolades to showcase our state-of-the-art purpose-built Resistance welding machines. These machines, capable of handling various diameters and materials, provide live feedback and post-weld reviews of numerous welding parameters, ensuring defect-free Aws D17.2 Class A, resistance welded joints.

Not only has our welding capability gained recognition, but our metallography lab has also earned its stripes. Accredited and fully equipped, the lab conducts all necessary non-destructive and destructive testing to ensure Class A welds. The facility boasts new sectioning, grinding, polishing, and inspection equipment housed within an environmentally controlled room.

About Nadcap®, created in 1990 by SAE International and administered by the Performance Review Institute®, this globally recognized accreditation showcases our commitment to quality, safety, and collaboration in the aerospace industry.

As we celebrate this milestone, we invite you to read more about our Nadcap® accreditation in the featured articles, and explore how Bellows Systems continues to set new standards in aerospace quality.

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Ingersoll Rand KVS Engine Exhaust Manifold to Turbo 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
Ingersoll Rand KVS Engine Exhaust Manifold to Turbo Expansion Joint

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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