O-rings suitable for the pharmaceutical industry

O rings are widely used across various industries to support a variety of different pieces of equipment and applications.  They provide an essential function and are ultimately moulded and manufactured to ensure they provide a continually high level of quality through...

The Best Chemical Resistant Gaskets for Sulfuric Acid

If you are using sulfuric acid on a regular basis within your industry, you might be aware of how corrosive it can be. While it can be useful for dyes, explosives, fertilisers, and many more applications, finding a chemical resistant gasket can often be one of the...

Different elastomers for o rings and various applications

An elastomer is a primary raw material used for most o rings. They are typically manufactured as gum rubber or manufactured synthetically, and surprisingly today, there are approximately over 32 different synthetic rubbers now available.  Elastomer compounds will...

Spiral wound gasket thickness – what’s best?

It is often recommended that using a thinner gasket type/material will result in better sealing performance.  Why?  Because thinner gaskets tend to require much less gasket stress to provide applications with the perfect seal, they also have an excellent response to...

Choosing the correct oil seal application

Choosing and using the proper sealing devices within oil and gas applications can be vital when preventing dirt, dust, water, and other debris from potentially getting inside and contaminating products.  Of course, all rubber materials and seals will provide a range...

Nitrile rubber, NBR, and Buna-N – how well do you know your o ring materials?

A widely used elastomer, Nitrile, Buna-N, or NBR rubber, are all oil and fuel resistant and provide a great level of strength, making them a popular material for seals across various industries.  Suitable for a range of applications, this versatile rubber material,...

Optimum squeezing force for an o ring

It is true that the more squeeze you place on an o ring, the tighter the seal it will provide. In essence, the more squeeze (compression) you apply, the greater the force between the o ring and its mating hardware.  And ensuring you have the perfect seal is all...

O Ring Squeeze

The squeeze and shrinkage on an o ring are vital to understanding as these factors stand in the way of your application either experiencing a perfect seal or your application suffering from leaks.  You can measure the shrinkage of an o ring during...

Keeping your o rings bonded

EMI o rings. Those seal ring gaskets are made of silicone compounds, combining environmental sealing with electromagnetic interference protection.  Consisting of metal or metal-coated particles, silicone o rings are filled with silver, silver aluminium, or nickel...

The importance of mechanical seals when reducing water consumption in mining

Environmental considerations are at the top of most industry's agendas in the 21st century as companies evaluate and improve operations, processes, and systems.  Conserving water in mining is one such area that is now being investigated further with the rotation of...

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 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.


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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