Gimbal Expansion Joints

Gimbal Expansion Joints are used to absorb angular rotation in any plane, using two pairs of hinges attached to a common floating gimbal ring. This type of construction provides a close control over the movement imposed up on the bellows and also supports the dead weight of the pipe. The wind and shear loads are also taken care of by the gimbal structure. Gimbal bellows joints are designed to absorb the full pressure thrust load of the expansion joint and thus guard the adjacent equipment from damage due to thrust loading.Since gimbal bellows joints are not restricted to a single plane they offer greater flexibility of usage.

Gimbal expansion joints
Gimbal Expansion Joints with Weld Ends
Gimbal expansion joints
Double Bellows Gimbal Expansion Joints with Weld Ends

The gimbal expansion joint is the most reliable expansion joint since it is capable of absorbing angular motion in all the planes. Although single gimbal bellows joint can be used in isolation the most common applications use a pair of gimbal bellows joints to absorb a complex multi-plane motion in a piping system. In adjacent figure Gimbal Expansion Joints are utilized in a pair to absorb the thermal expansion from the two horizontal piping arms. However note that the thermal growth of the vertical leg must be absorbed by the deflection of the horizontal piping.

To avoid this deflection in the horizontal piping arms one or more hinged expansion joints can be installed in the horizontal arms of the piping system as shown in adjacent figure

Gimbal expansion joints
Gimbal Expansion Joints with Flanges

The use of gimbal bellows joints results in the best system which eliminates the effects of thermal growth and lowers both reaction forces and installation costs. Expensive main anchors are eliminated and only minimal guiding is required.

Various Types of Gimbal Expansion Joints

Gimbal expansion joints
Fixed Flanges (Type 2104)

Gimbal expansion joints
Weld Ends (Type 2103)

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 Gimbal expansion joints Gimbal expansion joints


  • Absorbs angular movements in all planes, And angular rotations, or any combinations of these.
  • Eliminates pressure thrust loads.
  • Positive control over the movements.
  • Can support the dead weight of the Intermediate Piping.
  • Transmits external loads like wind loading and shear loading.
  • Prevents torsion on the bellows elements.
  • Minimum guiding required.
  • Eliminates main actors.
  • More space is required for Gimbal Bellows joints as compared to Axial Expansion Joints.
  • Change of pipe direction is required.
  • Two or more Gimbal Expansion Joints required to work as a system.