An O-Ring is a mechanical gasket in the shape of doughnut-shaped ring. Designed to be seated in a groove and compressed during assembly between two or more parts, it is a loop of elastomer with a round cross-section which creates a seal at the interface. The purpose of the O-Ring is to block a pathway that fluid or air may escape through, as it is a sealing device. They are one of the most common seals utilized in machine design today.
How O-Rings Work
Generally, O-Rings are put into a groove to hold fluid or air in place, and then squeezed between two surfaces. When the O-Ring is squeezed between two surfaces, it takes up the clearance and blocks the pathway that the fluid or air wants to escape through. The rubber of an O-Ring has muscle-memory when squeezed. Simply put, it wants to go back to its original shape. This memory is how the O-Rings seal under low to no pressure. With the application of pressure, it squeezes the O-Ring against the wall of the groove forcing it to expand in the opposite direction helping the O-Ring to seal against the walls of the groove.
Materials and Varieties
O-Rings are made from various types of materials, dependent upon the application. Some O-Rings are exposed to noxious chemicals or tremendous heat, so different material are required for different scenarios. O-Rings can be constructed from polyurethane, silicone, neoprene, nitrile rubber, fluorocarbon or numerous other elastomers. In addition, there are also a number of standardized O-Ring sizes, but they don’t always need to be circular. For different types of applications, there are different shapes, which include squares, x-shapes and others.
O-Rings offer many benefits to an assorted collection of applications. They are inexpensive, easy to install and can withstand a significant amount of wear and tear, provided they are properly maintained. Additionally, because of this versatility, O-Rings prevent leakage in a number of places. For example, hydraulic cylinders moved very quickly and put a massive amount of pressure on their seals. The O-Ring can handle this. They can function properly in a number of other types of equipment that would not seem apparent, such as laptops and computer mice. Far and away, though, O-Rings are most dominant in the automotive and aerospace fields.
Benefits of O-Rings
A few of the many benefits of O-Rings include:
- O-Rings seal over a wide range of pressure, temperature and tolerance
- The symmetry of the O-Ring’s circular cross-section allows for sealing in any direction
- Easy of service, no smearing or re-tightening
- They do not require any special installation tools or primers
- They are capable of bidirectional sealing
- No critical torque or tightening, so it is unlikely to cause structural damage
- O-Rings typically require very little room and are light in weight
- In many cases, an O-Ring can be reused
- O-Rings are cost-effective
- The duration of life in the correct application corresponds to the normal aging period of the O-Ring material
- They consist of a variety of compounds that can resist virtually all aggressive chemicals and environmental application
- O-Ring failure is usually gradual and easily identified
These are just a few of the reasons why O-Rings are important for various applications. Contact Bryan Hose & Gasket with the link below for more information!