What are expansion joints?

Designed to span gaps between structural elements, expansion joints are necessary to absorb movement, accommodate shrinkage and creep effects, deformation under vehicle load and changes in temperature on concrete, steel or composite structures, particularly on bridge decks and traffic areas of buildings.

Applications: bridges, footbridges, railway bridges, buildings

Each structure is continuously affected by vehicle load, wind conditions and temperature. We can consider them as ‘living’, moving structures, continually exposed to external forces, which impact their life span.
When designing a bridge, an engineer takes these external forces and effects into account, ensuring the bridge has both bearings to allow movement and defined restraint at its support, and expansion joints strategically placed to allow traffic to pass over movement gaps.

When designing a new structure, the engineer will consider how it will react to external factors. A specification is calculated and passed to a joint manufacturer, who will establish the best expansion joint to suit the application. The specification will process information such as type of structure, expected movements, gap, whole life and expected service life. Material and type of fixity of the joint should also be considered to allow easy maintenance and replacement.
It is important to use a specialist manufacturer that can offer a wide range of joints to find the ideal solution to match the requirements.

When it comes to replacing a joint, there are additional specifics to consider:

  • the reasons for the failure of the original seal should be investigated first,
  • the gap, as built, does not always reflect the needs of the structure at the time of replacement,
  • the joint gap may dictate the type of joint required,
  • differences in levels across the joint can result in vertical differential movements which must be considered to ensure the joint is not deflected by traffic passing over it,
  • the fixing of large movement joints should be carefully considered, and pull-out tests carried out, as the reaction on the edge rail increases, which can lead to failure of the adjacent pavement under traffic loads.

It is important to use a specialist contractor that is able to thoroughly inspect the structure and substructure, analyze traffic constraints and other requirements, advise on the best solution and ensure expert installation.


A few figures about our range of expansion joints
Years of experience
Countries using Freyssinet joints
ml of expansion joints installed each year
Different products in the range
Standard models available
Approvals from national authorities
Years of lifespan
The main advantages

Why choose Freyssinet expansion joints

01. A wide range of products

16 products designed for road and railway bridge decks, car parks and traffic areas of buildings, covering a movement capacity of 10mm to over 1200 mm. The optimum solution for your project will always be found in our range.

02. Adaptable to all structure types

Be they concrete, steel or composite, thanks to the anchoring mode of the joints.

03. Waterproof

All our joints are equipped with water drains, elastomeric profiles or/and collector membranes.

04. Durable

Robust and simple design. Fatigue resistance tested under millions of cycles. Connection to the structure by means of prestressed anchors. 50-year lifespan according to the approval.

05. Silent and comfortable

User comfort and noise reduction are performance criteria systematically taken into account in the design of our joints.

06. Easy installation and maintenance

Most of our joints are supplied in one-metre lengths to allow for line by line installation and easy replacement under traffic if required.

07. End-to-end services

Not only products. But the full range of knowledge and services, including inspection and design services, specification and manufacturing, installation and maintenance.
Services tailored to your needs

From design to maintenance

Our different type of expansion joints

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