Ball Joint

In this paragraph, I’m going to tell you about Ball Joints. With a unique design, they can be disassembled for seal replacement, inspection, or other maintenance issues with a resulting product that lasts a lifetime. They absorb pipe movement for applications ranging from steam and hot water pipe expansion, tank and building settlement, seismic isolation, wave motion compensation on oil platforms and drill ships, solar panel movement, oil well riser expansion and safety relief valve escape piping.

Ball Joints are commonly used in steam hot water heating systems due to their safety and reliability. When used in sets of two or three they absorb thermal expansion or contraction by the Off-Set method of lateral displacement. They are installed in pipe run or loop oriented perpendicular to the movement. Main anchors are not required as the design of ball joints reacts pressure thrust, and the flex torque reaction force is moderate. A lot of people confuse ball joints and ball valves.

Barco Ball Joints are commonly used in steam hot water heating systems due to their safety and reliability.


To react pressure thrust and absorb rotational and torsional motions, ball joint are used for tank and building settlement, seismic isolation, solar arrays, and piping displacement from wave motion. They are approved by Factory Mutual System for fire protection systems, and have been tested to 8.3 seismic simulation.

Three ball joint installation

Two ball joint installation.


Ball joints are used extensively for shipboard applications including oil platforms and drill ships. They are designed and qualified to ASME Class 2500 through 8″ NPS, and Class 900 through 12″ NPS. Fire tested to API 6FA, they meet ASTM F1298 shipboard piping specifications. Also they are approved by ABS Americas and Lloyd’s register.

Type N Style I Ball Joints

They have evolved from the original ball joints. Developed by Barco in 1908 to distribute steam from locomotives to passenger cars for heating. The Type N Style I was developed in 1960. Since that time thousands of Style I joints have been installed in steam, hot water and chilled water distribution systems, used to absorb tank and building settling, used for seismic isolation and many other piping applications to compensate for expansion or to add flexibility to the system. Type N Style I joints are available from 2 1/2″ through 30″ with proprietary Compound 11 composition seals or Compound 24 glass filled Teflon seals.

Type N Style II, III & III-V Ball Joints

They designed with injected graphite flakes with synthetic oil carrier, Grafoil® Flexible Graphite, that provides lubrication in addition to sealing. Grafoil® combined with a variety of high strength bearing materials results in increased temperature and pressure ratings. Seal options include Compound 11 non-metallic composition material, Number 21 ductile iron, Number 39 Alloy 625 high nickel stainless steel and Number 45 chrome-moly steel.

All Type N Style II, III & III-V ball Joints

They permit repacking with Grafoil® after installation. Packing of Type N Style II is accomplished with the system pressure removed and the installation of a Recharge Cylinder. The Recharge Cylinders are a permanent part of Type N Style III & III-V thus permitting repacking with the system operating. The Style III-V has the added benefit of a Safety Valve to completely isolate the system pressure.

Dannenbaum LLC can also help you with your Standard series Ball joint, OW1500 Ball Joints , and Series 3500 IS In-Line Seismic Expansion Joint.