When To Use Metal Bellows


Any vehicle or factory that has emissions of fluids or gases will need exhaust bellows, exhaust flex pipes, and other metal bellows and similar devices to transmit materials. Gases and liquids cannot simply flow freely; these exhaust flex pipes and standard bellows will safely contain heated or pressurized gas and liquids and carry them wherever they are intended to go. A vehicle or machine may make use of a flex pipe to carry exhaust away from the engine and emit it into open air, for example. Both flex pipes and metal bellows are roughly analogous in function, but they are not truly interchangeable. Someone invested in such industries may be concerned about the comparison of exhaust bellows vs flex hose, and the exhaust bellows vs flex hose difference is important to note. Flex hoes or metal bellows may result in performance failure if used in each other’s roles, so understanding exhaust bellows vs flex hose is quite important. The good news is that the construction and uses of these items are straightforward, so even a nice at a workplace may soon understand exhaust bellows vs flex hoses. What is there to know?

Flex Hoses

One may start by considering flex hoses. These are pipes of metal that are typically built with one layer of metal, and they can endure rapid, slight vibrations from an engine without suffering damage. They are designed to handle this stress, but it may be noted that flex hoses cannot so easily accommodate expansion of the gases inside them. These hoses are usually at least 18″ long, since a shorter hose may not be flexible enough to do its job properly. It may be noted that flex hoses may also suffer failure if they experience too much compression, especially if they are installed incorrectly. Regular inspections may be done at the work place or in a vehicle to ensure that these flex hoses are installed properly and are not experiencing undue stress in their work environment. Most often, it is best if these metal flex hoses are a no-weld undercut. A weld undercut, meanwhile, may cause failure in the hose pipe over time.

Metal Bellows

Like metal hoses, bellows are metal tubes that can carry gases and liquids, but otherwise, they are fairly different. Metal bellows may be shorter and have a greater diameter than flex hoses, and they are often built as multi-layer devices that can endure extremes of pressure differences and temperature. This makes a metal bellows more flexible, literally and otherwise, than flex hoses and may be used in more applications. These bellows, despite being made of metal, can easily flex and accommodate expansion of the materials inside them without rupturing. These bellows may handle liquids or gases.

Not all metal bellows are made the same, however, and a worker should always have the correct model installed in a machine for its work. Why is this? Various liquids or gases may vary in their pressure, weight, corrosive power, and extremes of temperature. Thus, there is no “one size fits all” metal bellows, and instead, different bellows will be tailored for the job. This can be done with the use of different metal alloys in the construction of bellows. Modern machines can be mode with more than simple steel; different alloys are designed and engineered with different combinations and ratios of ingredient metals. These may vary from stainless steel to nickel to aluminum to copper and more, and some alloys only need 1-2% of an ingredient metal to gain new properties. These alloys allow metal pipes and bellows (among other devices) to endure corrosion due to ocean water or industrial chemicals, for example. Other alloys can endure higher temperatures than pure steel can, or may endure greater pressure.

No bellows is truly indestructible, of course, so any responsible vehicle owner or factory owner will hire professionals to inspect the metal bellows being used for any defects or faults. Inspectors may find developing cracks or other issues with bellows, such as screws coming loose, and either effect repairs or refer the factory owner to someone who can fix the bellows. This is critical to ensure that a faulty bellows does not rupture and leak superheated or corrosive gases or liquids everywhere and cause further damage.


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