Tips in Achieving Optimum Performance of an O-Ring Gasket09 October 2018
If a smaller O-Ring gasket ends up in the beefy hands of an installer, it’s hard to ignore that slight form. How can this seemingly trivial system component ever hope to provide sealing strength? Well, for starters, this sealing component has more geometry than a conventional gasket. It’s shaped like an emaciated doughnut, but looks can be deceiving.
The Secrets of O-Ring Gasket Strength
In truth, that geometry, the torus-like structure of it, is designed to deform uniformly when it’s placed into its cavity. Gaskets act similarly, but the compressive forces applied to those rings moves linearly along one dimension, perhaps two if we incorporate flange twisting forces. Squeezed into its companion gland channel, the flexible O-Ring material compresses equally and in every direction.
Primary Installation Tips
Going on the above passage, the first piece of advice is to ensure the rubberized ring is properly inserted into its matching cavity. Remember, the rubber is designed to be compressed radially during the installation phase. If it fits loosely, then this isn’t the right O-Ring for the job. Similarly, the diameter of the uniformly shaped band should be slightly smaller than that cavity, because the flexible material is meant to be stretched as it’s fitted.
When the cross-sectional area issue and ring diameter problems are sorted, the loop of rubber fits snugly. But does the material ring come equipped with the right fluid-handling specs? Chemical attacks are likely, temperature extremes are probable, and pressure variables certainly can’t be ignored. Select an elastomer, a silicone, neoprene, nitrile, or other fluid compatible material that will endure when it’s assaulted by any or all of these fluid forces.
Understand Application Tolerances
O-Rings can be used in static applications or in systems that employ dynamic fluid pressures. Select a product accordingly, one that fits a fixed flange or a dynamically capable variant that can conceivably function in a system that uses reciprocating cylinders. Next, avoid cross-sectional rolling. If the application does use an awkwardly located gland channel, then the installer may end up twisting or kinking the ring when it’s being fitted. Always avoid O-Ring twisting.
Check the work after the fitting is coupled. Is there an extrusion protruding from the channel? Undo the pipe, replace the O-Ring, and try again. Last of all, do understand the different elastomers, the alternate ring application usage spheres, and the knock-on effects on each and every equipment type. Is this pneumatic equipment? Is there a reciprocating cylinder riding behind the O-Ring? Essentially, this fitting is indeed slight, but its geometry and material base will operate efficiently as long as the fluid conditions and ring specifications correspond.
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