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Exhaust Bellows Vs Flex Hose Which is the Better Option?

Initially developed to reduce noise and vibrations within the exhaust system, the functions of the exhaust pipe connector have greatly evolved over time, and it’s now a crucial part of the exhaust system. For instance, other than the mentioned, the connector also plays the vital role in absorbing thermal growth in exhaust piping. It also offers compensation for misalignments and goes a long way in eliminating stress. In other words, the exhaust connector plays a vital role in facilitating the smooth running of not only the exhaust system but the entire engine as well. Therefore, it is important you take time to review the quality of the exhaust bellow expansion joints before purchase.

Why Exhaust Bellows are a Better Option

When it comes to an exhaust pipe connector, you generally have two options, exhaust flex pile connectors, and metallic bellows. Even though both types of exhaust connectors provide leeway and flexibility to your car’s exhaust system, metal bellow expansion joints are superior to the latter because;

They Absorb Large Amounts of Thermal Expansion

An exhaust flex joint, also known as a flexible connector, can efficiently absorb high frequency as well as low amplitude vibrations. However, even though efficient, this type of exhaust pipe connector was not designed to absorb large amounts of thermal expansion. Hence subjecting it to such conditions means it will fail within a short period. Metal bellows have larger corrugations, hence can efficiently absorb larger amounts of thermal expansion in the piping without failing.

They Can Absorb both Vibration and Thermal Expansion

A typical metal bellow section is about 12′ long. Also, it’s worth noting that metal bellows can be either single-ply or multi-ply, and both designs often feature extra layers of steel. Additionally, they have taller corrugations than flex hose connectors. Therefore, their structure makes them more efficient. As a result, they can absorb more expansion and at the same time, vibrations, something a flex hose connector cannot achieve without experiencing premature failure.

Also, because they are more flexible, metal exhaust pipe connectors are usually able to handle lateral movements, and consequently, pipe misalignment. Metal bellows are more durable than flex connectors and will last three times longer than the mentioned and have shorter space requirements.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Bellows

Now that you know why bellows are a good idea, check out the most important attributes you need to consider while shopping custom expansion joints

The Assembly Method and the End Configuration

Some of the most popular assembly methods include soldering and welding. But others can be used to connect the bellows to the end fittings. Therefore, ensure you consider this important factor while shopping around as you want to go for one that fits you the most.

While on the assembly method, be sure to indicate what end configuration you want. For instance, what type of bellows end do you want? Also how long should it be?

The Rigid Stops

Restrained custom bellows usually offer exemplary performance as it tends to operate within its design parameters continuously. Therefore, while considering the rigid stops, ensure you make up your mind on whether the bellows will work unrestrained, or whether to limit the extension or compression below the rated stroke.

The Temperature and Vibration Conditions

As you already know by now, the exhaust pipe connector plays a vital role in the isolation of temperature and vibrations. Therefore, make sure you point out the highest as well as lowest temperature the bellows will be subjected to while working. Also, define the vibration or shock condition that it will experience so it can be designed for optimum performance.

The Exposure Factor

Bellows work in demanding conditions. Therefore, you don’t want the connector you purchase to fail pre-maturely because you failed to indicate what kind of media it will be exposed to while working. That said, make sure you consider what conditions both external and internal surfaces of the bellows will be subjected to.

Geometric Constraints

You will also want to consider the size restrictions. For instance, what is the maximum overall length or OD of the bellows you want to purchase? In other words, make sure you know all the relevant dimensions and how high or low you can go when it comes to the size.

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