o-rings and seals

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Problem Solving Products, Inc.

7108 S. Alton Way, Unit I
Centennial, Colorado 80112
(303) 758-2728

(303) 758-2728

Home > O-ring, Seal Failure Analysis

O-ring and Seal Failure Analysis

The failure of an o-ring or seal can cost the customer time and money as well as possibly endangering personnel. The analysis of a premature or unexpected o-ring or seal failure includes many factors, including the environment, the o-ring or seal design and the elastomer itself. The appearance of the defective o-ring or seal can provide significant insight into potential causes of failure.

seal failure

O-ring and Seal Failure

In the semiconductor industry, the failure of a single o-ring or seal can result in millions of dollars in damaged production, downtime and maintenance costs. In many environments, an o-ring or seal failure can result in the complete evacuation of a facility-or worse, the exposure of personnel to toxic chemicals.

Prevention of o-ring and seal failures through proper design, material selection and maintenance certainly minimizes the risk of failure. Attention to the condition of replaced o-rings and seals, as well as the equipment performance over time, will result in improved process reliability, reduced operating costs and a safer work environment.

O-rings and seals often fail prematurely in applications because of improper design or compound selection. This section is designed to provide the viewer with examples of common failure modes. By correctly identifying the failure mode, changes in the design or sealing material can lead to improved o-ring and seal performance.

From the end-user's point of view, an o-ring or seal can fail in three (3) general ways:

  • Leaking
  • Contamination
  • Change in Appearance

It is useful to analyze the envionment, o-ring or seal design and elastomer when there is an o-ring or seal failure.


Environment Analysis

O-ring and Seal Design Analysis

Elastomer Analysis

General Factors: Leaking, Contamination and Appearance Change

O-ring and Seal Failure Part 1: Extrusion, Over-Compression and Spiral Failure

O-ring and Seal Failure Part 2: Chemical Degradation, Thermal Degradation and Explosive Decompression

O-ring and Seal Failure Part 3: Plasma Degradation, Contamination and Abrasion

O-ring and Seal Failure Part 4: Compression Set, Outgassing/Extraction and Installation Damage



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