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Protecting your seals

Dust gets everywhere.  We see it across the surfaces of our homes and even in our workplaces, especially when the light shines through to show it in its full glory!  However, dust that seeps and builds up within engineering equipment can be disastrous.  Causing damage...

Importance of durometer testing

Durometer or shore durometer is a way for industry professionals to measure how hard such things as plastic, rubber, and non-metallic materials genuinely are.  Its focus is to measure on a Shore A or Shore D scale, looking at how robust material is when examining its...

Metal Detectable O Rings

Metal detectable o rings became a necessary must when it was identified that some chemicals, exposure to extreme temperatures, and continuous vibrations could cause failings in standard o rings.  Failings that not only mean a breaking of the seal, but there is also an...

Tips for best o ring maintenance

If o rings are not maintained, leaks can occur, and water and other fluids can enter the appliance or application, and even product in the mix!  If this happens, damage can occur to internal parts and mechanisms, causing deployment failings, potential false readings,...

What you need to know about O Ring Lubricants

Silicone grease and lubricants aren’t just a nice to have for o rings, but they can quite often be a must-have.  However, with so many greases and lubricants to choose from, it can often be a minefield choosing the best ones and the right ones for your o ring and...

O Ring Replacement

Replacing an O Ring in pressure washer wands is probably one of the most common replacements you'll find when working with seals.  Unfortunately, O Rings don't last forever, and over time they do deteriorate, and you will require an O Ring replacement.  It's important...

Reasons behind seal failure and a look into seal replacement

Unfortunately, there are occasions where O-rings, in particular, fail.  The failure of these seals is not simply due to one factor, but various factors that can occur across a range of applications – hence why locating the exact cause of such problems is just that, a...

Gaskets and seals for Aerospace

Gaskets and seals used for aerospace applications and equipment must be of premium quality and to a substantially high standard.  They are used across a range of applications such as radars, antennas, lighting, access panels, electrical conductivity, pressure sealing,...

Finding the best sealing materials for Food Grade Applications

You will find rubber seals across various industries, providing an important element and operating as a vital fixing across a wide range of different applications and equipment.  However, these FDA gaskets must follow strict, set guidelines, in terms of their material...

The Evolution of Gasket Solutions

When we talk about gaskets and the history of a gasket, we must start at the very beginning.  What is a gasket?  Ultimately, a gasket is a manufactured seal that is used to fill the gap/space between two or more surfaces.  Gaskets are typically manufactured by cutting...

Common Reasons Why O-Ring Fails

Industrial O-rings common failureIntroduction

O-ring failure can have expensive and severe consequences. If you want to ensure optimal performance of your design under all possible circumstance, it is important that you acquaint yourself with the most common reasons for O-ring failure.

Common Failures

Abrasion

Abrasion is an O-ring failure that is common in dynamic applications. This is due to repetitive contact and, ultimately, friction between the O-ring surface and housing groove. There are mainly two reasons for abrasion, namely insufficient lubrication and an improper surface finish. Abrasion can be detected by looking at the sliding contact faces of the O-ring. If it has a grazed surface, you may be running the risk of abrasion.

Chemical Attack

If the O-ring’s main elastomer is incompatible with the application media, the O-ring may fail due to a chemical attack. Chemical attacks can be worsened by extreme temperatures and if the O-ring is under stress. A chemical attack on the O-ring can be detected by looking for blisters, cracking, and discolouration on the in the O-ring.

Chemical Swell

When the O-ring’s elastomer allows ingress of chemical media, the O-ring can swell and lose it’s sealing ability. It can also lose its tensile strength. Like chemical attack, this failure is due to lacking compatibility with the chemical media. Monitor the size of the O-ring and compare its current size to its original size to determine if there is chemical swelling.

Compression Set

This is when the circular cross-section of the O-ring becomes less circular and flatten on the sides to increases in temperature. If the O-ring’s elastomer is not compatible with extreme fluctuations in temperature, it can diminish the O-ring’s sealing ability as it doesn’t revert to its original shape when the temperature goes back to normal.

Installation Damage

O-rings that are damaged to careless of improper installation can result in failure. Incorrect sizing, cuts on the surface of the elastomer, dirt, or twisted O-ring, can result in lacking sealing ability. Installation damage can be caused in many different ways, and it can also happen if the O-ring is the correct size for the design.

Solution

There is not one solution for common O-ring failures. Failure may be due to many different circumstances and conditions. There are, however, overlapping causes of O-ring shortcomings that one should take note of.

Incompatibility with chemical media can cause an entire array of common-ring failures. If the material or elastomer of the O-ring is not compatible with the chemical media, it can reduce the O-ring’s sealing integrity. The chemical media or operating fluid may also ingress into the elastomer. To prevent this, make sure that chemical media and elastomer are compatible with each other.

The O-ring’s ability to cope with extreme temperatures is also important to prevent a number of common O-ring failures. If the sealing properties of an O-ring’s elastomer changes under different temperatures are can also lead to failure. This is especially important when it comes to aircraft or vehicles that travel or flies in extreme circumstances.

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