O-ring seals are the air and water tight connectors placed between two pieces of machinery. The round elastomeric O-ring sits in a gland, which is a groove in the metal part designed as a cavity to keep the O-ring in place. The seal compresses between the two machinery components and prevents the loss of fluid or gas. O-ring seals are components in pressure systems, hydraulic lifts, aircraft lubrication systems, and automotive joints.
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Applications of O-Ring Seals
O-ring seals are used to make dynamic seals on reciprocating or rotating machinery, including pistons, cylinders, and rotating shafts. When the O-ring is working as a seal between two moving pieces, such as those just described, a lubricant is necessary to protect the O-ring from quick and steady deterioration. Other protective measures for O-rings include a thin Teflon sleeve, since its strength can protect a weaker but more flexible rubber from wear and corrosion. O-ring seals can sustain a wide range of pressures, temperatures, and tolerances. Depending on the material they are made of and the industry they are employed in, their working lives differ in length.
Many industries make use of O-rings and the products that require their seal, including:
- Food and Beverage
- Chemical Processing
- Water Treatment
- Industrial Manufacturing
Some of the most common applications that have some kind of O-rings in their design are computers, laptops, televisions, mobile phones, gas burners, cars, and motorbikes. Spaceships, airplanes, and submarines use specifically designed and engineered O-rings to prevent the passing of media from inside to outside or vice versa. They are often used in hydraulic cylinders. Hydraulic cylinders are known for heavy hydraulic pressure. A great amount of pressure is on the seal, placed between the two joints of the cylinder; O-rings can efficiently bear and level that pressure. Given the critical roles these seals play in an application, their importance cannot be ignored in relation to the technological progress human beings have made.
O-Ring Seal Design
The O shape of these rings gives them the name O-ring. However, O-rings are not always O-shaped. You can also find rectangular and X-shaped O-rings. In fact, you can get precise O-rings designed and engineered by an expert manufacturer to improve the functioning of your application.
These mechanical seals are available in many materials, such as:
- Copper O-Rings
- Teflon O-Rings
- Rubber O-Rings
- Silicone O-Rings
O-rings are generally made from a flexible material such as rubber, like silicone, Viton, neoprene, polyurethane, and ethylene-propylene. For certain specific applications they can be made of hard, rigid material like Teflon. Metal O-rings are also available, often made from copper, steel alloys, gold, or aluminum. These metals are also used to fill the gaps in plastic O-rings, while the plastics are used to fill in space in the metal o-ring fabric. To maintain a consistent and reliable seal, O-ring material must not become brittle or rigid under low temperatures or melt under high heat, which could result in serious machinery damage and malfunction based on gas or liquid leaking. The production of O-rings is simply heat, mold, and cool, although a few styles require curing or die cutting. O-rings are fabricated specially to be able to withstand serious temperature and pressure. Because abrasion against the walls of the machinery may cause O-ring failure, the contacting surfaces should always be polished around the seal.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing O-Ring Seals
O-rings come with various advantages that encourage manufacturers to use them in their applications. These low-cost tools can be installed easily in many applications to avoid leaking, wearing, and tearing. However, you will need to ensure that they have been installed and are being cared for correctly. An appropriately installed O-ring seal can prolong the life of the application it is used for. In addition to these benefits, these seals can work efficiently in various environments, but you will have to choose O-rings made from materials that are ideal for your process environment. Whether you are looking for O-rings for a motionless environment or vacuum or for underwater or high-pressure applications, a supplier can provide you with a tolerable and long-life O-ring to fit your specific requirement.