Gylon Epix Tackles Tough Tasks

Gylon Epix’s patterned material provides enhanced compressibility for better sealing

Gaskets are ubiquitous components in a processing plant. Every flange, equipment joint and connection point will have some form of gasket to prevent fluids from compromising (i.e., leaking from) a process system. However, effective sealing can pose challenges. A new form of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) gasket, Gylon Epix, already has successfully addressed a number of persistent problems at plants.

Fig. 1: Gylon Epix gaskets feature a raised hexagonal pattern that provides better compressibility

The gasket, which is available in 3⁄32-in.-thick, 60-in. × 60-in. sheets, features a raised hexagonal pattern (Figure 1). It exhibits enhanced compressibility over both 1⁄16-in. and 1⁄8-in. traditional gaskets, seals easily when compressed by flanges and maintains assembled bolt torque better than comparable 1⁄8-in. PTFE gasket materials.

Successes with Gylon 3501-E and Gylon 3504

Trials at three early adopters of the new material underscore its value.

Fatty acid production. A German manufacturer of oleo-based chemicals, including fatty acids, glycerin, fatty alcohols and fatty esters used in consumer and personal health products, was experiencing problems sealing a 29.3-in. (745-mm) outside-diameter spiral heat exchanger. A gasket located atop the heat exchanger was exposed to polysaturated fatty acid and coolant at a continuous temperature of 428°F (220°C) and pressure of 87 psig (6 bar). J-type clamp bolts fasten the lid to the heat exchanger. Spiral heat exchangers present challenges because the gasket must seal across the entire face of the lid, requiring a gasket that will efficiently transmit the force from the bolts across its entire surface.

The traditional PTFE sheet gasket was allowing leakage across the exchanger’s spiral passes, decreasing efficiency. The gasket exhibited cuts from the spiral separation bars and required frequent changes that disrupted manufacturing and decreased plant productivity.

Fig 2. Disassembly after more than six months’ service revealed gasket was still in good condition.

Gylon Epix 3501-E  was installed in December 2017 and, after six months of testing, concluded it sealed well. Upon disassembly in July 2018, it was found to be in good condition, with no traces of cuts, discoloration, brittleness or sticking to the lid (Figure 2). A new gasket was installed in July 2018, which now has completed a successful one-year trial; the gasket continues to perform well.

Phosphate processing. New or refurbished equipment generally seals bolted connections well. As the equipment ages, gaskets and flange surfaces help seal gaps caused by corroded, worn, misaligned or repositioned equipment flanges. At a Mexican acid processor, Class 150, 8-in. raised-face flanges of the inlets and discharges of phosphoric and sulfuric acid transfer pumps had become worn and corroded. Temperatures were 104°F (40°C) and pressures 57 psig (4 bar). The 1⁄8-in.-thick glass-filled PTFE gaskets didn’t consistently provide a tight seal. So, the plant applied mastic filler to treat damaged flange surfaces as a stop-gap measure.

Gylon Epix 3504 was installed in December of 2017; it performed successfully without the need for flange treatments or special installation handling. Its enhanced compressibility fills the gap of imperfect flanges. It performed well until its removal in September of 2018 when the pump mechanically failed for a reason not related to the gasket. The acid processor is adding Gylon Epix to its approved materials list because it worked without the need for mastic, was flexible and easy to handle, and performed with zero leaks.

Terephthalic acid manufacturing. A southeastern U.S. producer of terphthalic acid (TPA) was experiencing leaks with traditional glass-filled PTFE sheet gaskets on a pressure vessel operating at 230°F and 60 psig that has a 60-in. × 10-in. rectangular gasket joint opening. Large rectangular joints can have uneven surfaces due to warpage of the cover. In July of 2018, Gylon Epix 3504 was installed and is still in service as of September 2019 and performing well. The company has accepted the product into its system and is re-ordering.


The original article can be found here and was written by Jim Grago, PE, a principal applications engineer for Garlock.

Gallagher Fluid Seals is an authorized distributor of Garlock. For questions about products or to see if Gylon Epix is the right fit for your application, contact our engineering department.

The History and Ingenuity of the Buffer Ring: Part 1

Back in the mid 70’s, an engineer named Roy Edlund of Busak & Luyken designed a high-pressure seal that had an uncommon effect of rocking in the groove. This action occurred when pressure was created on the retract side of a cylinder as the rod was being retracted into the cylinder.

The material used for the seal was generally a bronze-filled Teflon, which could resist extrusion and have a long seal life. Because the seal ring was made from a grade of filled Teflon, a small amount of oil would leak under the lip as the cylinder was being extended.

One of the most unique features of this style seal was that as the rod was being retracted back into the cylinder, the buffer ring would rock or rotate slightly to the low pressure side thereby forcing leaked oil back into the retract side of the cylinder under the buffer ring.

This seal is commonly called a Buffer Ring (for reasons we’ll explore in this blog), but this seal helped usher Teflon into most high-pressure hydraulic systems today.

picture of buffer ring

Pre-Buffer Ring Sealing Problems

Manufactures of high-pressure hydraulic systems in equipment, such as back hoes or hydraulic cranes found that their products were having seal failures prior to reaching warranty. This resulted in downtime and large warranty expense to repair these cylinders in the field.

In normal operations, the standard U-Cup made from a variety of Urethanes did an excellent job of creating a “near” zero leak sealing system. The problems would occur as the “bulk” oil temperature rose due to usage, pressure spikes in the system would cause premature failure of the Urethane U-Cup.

It was the pressure spikes that usually wreaked havoc with the U-cup seal design, causing the urethane to break down and eventually crack, creating a leak, and resulting in equipment shut-downs.

The Buffer Ring Solution

The Buffer Ring turned out to be the answer. By adding another sealing element in front of the Urethane U-cup, the life of the U-cup was greatly extended, overall friction in the system was reduced, and the bulk temperature in the hydraulic system was lowered.

All these advantages came by adding a sealing element. The true savings showed up in dramatically improving equipment up time. This also reduced warranty costs of equipment to the OEM.

How Does the Buffer Ring Work?

The answer to this question was initially difficult for many manufacturers to understand. Normally, putting one seal in front of another should cause a pressure trap, sending pressure loads much higher than relief valve settings, which locks up the cylinder.

The secret was in the way the Buffer Ring performed its job.

The seal leaking is very important to its design. If oil didn’t reach the U-Cup, the U-cup would generate heat and begin to wear out prematurely. So, since the Buffer Ring allowed a small amount of fluid to seep under the lip, this fluid lubricated the U-cup and kept its friction to a minimum.

Being elastomeric in nature, the U-cup did an excellent job of wiping the rod nearly completely dry.

But what about the pressure trap?

picture of buffer ring in application

The Buffer Ring and its unique quality allowed fluid back into the system. Testing verified that this would happen anywhere from zero to about 100 PSI.

The U-cup spent most of its life in a well-lubricated, low-pressure / low-temperature environment compared to the original design.

The Buffer Ring also made suppliers of U-Cups extremely happy, as their failed seal had been given new life compared to the holes blown through the back of their urethane product. Continue reading The History and Ingenuity of the Buffer Ring: Part 1

Form-In-Place Gaskets: What They Are and What They Are Not

Article re-posted with permission from Parker Hannifin Sealing & Shielding Team.

Original content can be found on Parker’s Website and was written by Ben Nudelman, Market Development Engineer, Chomerics Division.


Form-in-place EMI gaskets, also known as FIP EMI gaskets, is a robotically dispensed electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding solution that is ideal for modern densely populated electronics packaging.

picture of CHOFORMThe most important distinction of form-in-place EMI gaskets is that they were developed for applications where inter-compartmental isolation is required to separate signal processing and/or signal generating functions.

Simply put, form-in-place gaskets are meant to reduce “noise” between cavities on a printed circuit board (PCB) or in an electronics enclosure.

In addition, form-in-place gaskets provide excellent electrical contact to mating conductive surfaces, including printed circuit board traces for cavity-to-cavity isolation. Parker Chomerics form-in-place gasket materials are known as CHOFORM.

7 reasons why form-in-place EMI gaskets can be an ideal choice

  1. Small form factor – form-in-place gaskets can be dispensed in smaller bead sizes than most traditional EMI shielding gasket solutions, 0.018” tall by 0.022” wide.
  2. Excellent adhesion – 4-12 N/cm adhesion on prepared surfaces such as machined metals, cast housings, and electrically conductive plastics.
  3. High shielding effectiveness – Parker Chomerics CHOFORM materials can provide more than 100 dB shielding effectiveness in the 200 MHz to 12 GHz frequency range.
  4. Quick programming – Because form-in-place EMI gaskets are robotically dispensed, a standard CAD file can be used to program the dispensing system and quickly map out the dispensing pattern.
  5. Complex geometries – The positional tolerance of the gasket can be held to within 0.001” and is able to follow very complex geometries including sharp turns, corners, and serpentine patterns. Other gaskets such as die cut sheets or o-rings manufacture and/or fabricate into such shapes and patterns.
  6. “T” joints – Traditional extruded gaskets are difficult to mate at intersections or “T” joints. The robot dispensing systems produce reliable junctions between bead paths to provide continuous EMI/EMC shielding and environmental sealing.
  7. Integrated solutions – CHOFORM technology combined with a Parker Chomerics supplied metal or conductive plastic housing provides an integrated solution ready for the customers’ highest level of assembly. This approach requires no additional assembly or process steps for the installation of gaskets and/or board-level auxiliary components.

Picture of Form-In-Place EMI Shielding Gaskets

Form-in-place EMI gasket limitations

  1. Large form factor enclosure sealing that can accommodate a groove. For larger areas such as machined covers that can accommodate a gasket groove, other EMI shielding solutions are better suited. In most applications, conductive elastomers such as the CHO-SEAL product line by Parker Chomerics will provide better shielding and sealing. Form in place gaskets can be dispensed in bead sizes only as large as about 0.062” tall x 0.075” wide.
  2. Enclosures requiring submersion or durable weather sealing. Because of the small form factor, FIP gaskets will not meet stringent environmental sealing requirements such as IP 67 or higher. While silicone-based, the material is better at preventing dust and environmental moisture from entering an enclosure. FIP gaskets can be paired with additional sealing gaskets for enhanced weatherproofing.

Gallagher Fluid Seals is an authorized distributor for Parker. For more information about their products, including o-rings or their various compounds, contact Gallagher Fluid Seals today.

Kalrez® 7375 Offers Outstanding Properties & Performance

Kalrez 7375 offers broad chemical and water/steam resistance

The newer compound from DuPont™, Kalrez 7375, is an innovative FFKM oil-seal product exhibiting broad chemical and water/steam resistance properties required at high temperatures in chemical process industry applications. Kalrez 7375 parts present excellent compression set resistance, exceptional physical property retention, and improved mechanical strength properties. Other Kalrez compounds have done the job over the years when faced with many of these sealing challenges, but how does it compare to this new compound?

Three ways that Kalrez 7375 would be a suitable upgrade or compatible compound for your application:

1. Kalrez® 1050LF is a classic grade and longtime favorite for premium performance. 1050LF end-users will likely see a performance boost if they switched to 7375, especially if used in steam or hot water applications.

2. If using Kalrez® 4079 or Kalrez® 7075 and broad chemical resistance is essential (including water/steam), 7375 could be a superior compatibility match resulting in enhanced longevity. 7075 offers the highest thermal capability but cannot support 7375’s chemical compatibility with steam. See table below:

Volume Change between different FFKMs after 672 hours of chemical immersion.

3. If lifetime issues or seeking to extend time between repairs are concerns when using Kalrez® 6375, end-users would most likely see a significant impact with 7375. However, transitioning to 7375 is not necessary if 6375 is executing up to standards.

Kalrez 7375 Benefits

  • Superior thermal stability of 572 °F (300 °C)
  • Excellent broad chemical resistance
  • Outstanding steam and water resistance
  • Available in most O-ring sizes: AS568, Metric, JIS (custom shapes upon request)
  • Combination of Kalrez® quality and Gallagher Fluid Seals’ customer service
picture of kalrez compression graph
Kalrez 7375 demonstrates excellent long-term compression set in hot air at 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Product Description

DuPont™ Kalrez 7375 perfluoroelastomer parts are an innovative FFKM product based on a patented crosslinking system for chemical process industry applications where broad chemical and water/steam resistance are needed at elevated temperatures. Kalrez 7375 parts exhibit excellent compression set resistance, outstanding physical property retention, and good mechanical strength properties. A maximum application temperature of 300 °C is suggested.


The original article was featured on Dichtomatik’s website and can be found here.

Gallagher Fluid Seals is an authorized distributor of Kalrez products. For information about selecting the correct compound for your specific application, contact our engineering department.

Why are Mechanical Seals Still the Preferred Choice in the Process Industries?

The challenges facing process industries have changed although they continue to pump fluids, some hazardous or toxic. Safety and reliability are still of prime importance. However, operators increase speeds, pressures, flow rates and even the severity of the fluid characteristics (temperature, concentration, viscosity, etc.) while processing many batch operations. For the operators of petroleum refineries, gas processing facilities and petrochemical and chemical plants, safety means controlling and preventing loss of, or exposure to, the pumped fluids. Reliability means pumps that operate efficiently and economically, with less required maintenance.

picture of EagleBurgmann mechanical sealsA properly designed mechanical seal assures a pump operator of long-lasting, safe and reliable pump performance with a proven technology. Among multiple pieces of rotating equipment and a myriad of components, mechanical seals are proven to perform dependably under most types of operating conditions.

Pumps & Seals—A Good Fit

It is hard to believe that almost 30 years have passed since the mass promotion of sealless pump technology into the process industry. The new technology was promoted as the solution to all the issues and perceived limitations of mechanical seals. Some suggested that this alternative would eliminate the use of mechanical seals entirely.

However, not long after this promotion, end users learned that mechanical seals could meet or exceed legislated leakage and containment requirements. Further, pump manufacturers supported the technology by providing updated seal chambers to replace the old compression packing “stuffing boxes.”

Today’s seal chambers are designed specifically for mechanical seals, allowing for more robust technology in a cartridge platform, providing easier installation and creating an environment that allows the seals to function to their full potential.

Design Advancements

In the mid 1980s, new environmental regulations forced the industry not only to look at containment and emissions, but also at equipment reliability. The average mean time between repair (MTBR) for mechanical seals in a chemical plant was approximately 12 months. Today, the average MTBR is 30 months. Currently, the petroleum industry, subject to some of the most stringent emission levels, has an average MTBR of more than 60 months.

Mechanical seals maintained their reputation by demonstrating the ability to meet and even exceed the requirements of best available control technology (BACT). Further, they did so while remaining an economical and energy efficient technology available to meet emission and environmental regulations.

Computer programs allow seals to be modeled and prototyped prior to manufacturing to confirm how they will handle specific operating conditions before being installed in the field. Seal manufacturing design capabilities and the technology of seal face materials has progressed to the point that they can be developed for a one-to-one fit for a process application.

Today’s computer modeling programs and technology allow the use of 3-D design review, finite element analysis (FEA), computational fluid dynamics (CFD), rigid body analysis and thermal imaging diagnostic programs that were not readily available in the past or were too costly for frequent use with earlier 2-D drafting. These advancements in modeling techniques have added to the design reliability of mechanical seals.

These programs and technologies have led the way to the design of standard cartridge seals with much more robust components. These included the removal of springs and dynamic O-rings from the process fluid and made flexible stator technology the design of choice. Continue reading Why are Mechanical Seals Still the Preferred Choice in the Process Industries?

Vesconite Bearings Expands into 3D Printing Industry

Changing Bushings to Vesconite

A UK manufacturer of brackets for electrical equipment has changed its 3D printer bushings to Vesconite bearings.

picture of vesconite bracketThe manufacturer had previously used roller bearings on its two Prusa 3D printers, but had found that roller bearings wore away the printer rods. They also required regular greasing, which limited production uptime and value.

Following some online searching, Triple Link Manufacturing founder Mark Bagnall discovered a reference to Vesconite 3D printer bushings and was attracted by the fact that they were low maintenance and required no greasing.

In addition, he was pleased with the fact that the product promised low rod wear and would not result in costly damage. The time spent having to strip down the 3D printers to replace the rods and bushings was costly, so combating that would provide a lot of value to the business.

Mark reports that, following some adjustments to make sure that the positioning and the spacing of the bushings was correct, the bushings have been operating well in the 3D printers.

The company has Vesconite Hilube bushings installed on one printer and Vesconite Superlube, the lower-co-efficient-of-friction polymer bushing, installed on the other.

“We produce perfectly good quality products,” states Mark, who notes that the finish is great for functional components that compete with commercial bracket suppliers.

Triple Link Manufacturing, through sister company Indigo Lime, produces Sky TV box brackets, TV wall and stand mounts, and even Playstation mountings, among other products. Mark highlights that customers are accepting the quality of 3D printed parts for functional usage since they are cheaper than injection-molded parts.

The process also allows for the production of the necessary volumes, without large overruns, and, with Mark’s expertise, he has been able to optimise the designs to reduce the print time and the material usage involved in printing, thereby further decreasing the manufacturing and raw material costs.

The company has been steadily growing its electrical equipment bracket manufacturing since sales began at the beginning of the year.

In addition, the design and manufacturing company also continues to produce prototype 3D printed parts for customers who will eventually manufacture their own injection-molded parts.

Vesconite Bushings in Future 3D Printers

As the business expands, there will be more Vesconite installed on future 3D printers due to the success of these first two runs. 

Vesconite is happy to be part of the expansion of 3D printers and stands ready with its non-grease bushings.


The original article was featured on Vesconite’s website and can be found here.

For more information about Vesconite Hilube, or to see if your application would be a good fit, please contact our engineering department.

Low-Temperature Applications: Can I Use a Metal Hose?

Use Metal HoseIt comes as no surprise that metal hose is the preferred choice for high-temperature applications. But what about low-temperature applications? This is a question frequently seen from customers. The simple answer is yes- metal hose is a great option for low-temperature applications. However, there are important factors that should be considered before making a recommendation.

Service Conditions

Before recommending a particular metal hose for a low-temperature application, the conditions that the hose will experience while in service should be identified. For example, what are the minimum and maximum temperatures of the application? If the assembly is going to be exposed to wide temperature variances, it is important to determine how frequently and rapidly the temperature will change. Metals expand and contract as they heat and cool, and they do so at different rates depending on the alloy.

Severe fluctuations in operating temperature can apply stress on welded joints as the base materials expand and contract, which may cause cracks to form.

One way to verify that an assembly will be able to accommodate these stresses safely is by conducting a “cold shock” test. Cold shock (aka “thermal shock”) testing is performed by plunging an assembly into a cryogenic bath, then allowing it to return to room temperature (or to the highest temperature to which it will be exposed), followed by various testing and inspection. This ensures that the welds will not crack when exposed to similar temperature extremes while in service.

Another service condition to identify is whether the temperature extremes will be present inside the metal hose (the media temperature) or outside the hose (the external environment). Will the hose be buried in ice? Will it have cryogenic liquids flowing through it? Is there a chance the media could freeze and change into a solid? Is it possible for frost to build-up on the hose exterior? These are all potentially damaging conditions that can be mitigated by selecting the correct assembly for the job.

picture of trace assembly
A traced assembly can be used to regulate media temperature.

For example, an application in which the metal hose may surrounded by a cold exterior environment may be best served by utilizing a traced assembly. It’s often recommended to use the STAMPED acronym to assist in identifying the service conditions for any hose application.

Standards and Certifications

Along with service conditions, it is important to also identify any standards that must be met in an application. This can be a challenge because there are different standards that may apply depending on the alloy, the forming process (cast, forged, drawn, etc.) and the finished product (hose, pipe, flanges, etc.).

Hose Master uses the low temperature ratings in the ASME Process Piping Code B31.3, as well as other internationally recognized standards. Identifying the applicable standard is important because different standards may have different low temperature ratings for the same alloy.

When identifying standards, it is also important to note that a particular alloy may have multiple certifications, meaning it complies with two (or more) standards, each of which may offer different ratings for a given alloy. For example, many of our alloys comply with both ASTM and EN (European) specifications. In these instances, the standard specified by the customer dictates the minimum allowable temperature rating.

Finally, the method of fabrication may affect the allowable low temperature limits. Many standards include or make reference to various welding requirements, many of which require the welders to achieve and maintain compliance to those standards through thorough education, testing, and audits. These standards may dictate the allowable low-temperature limits for a welder’s certification, superseding the low-temperature limits of the materials being joined.

Selecting a Metal Hose for a Low-Temperature Application

In summary, there is no one answer to “how low you can go” in regards to operating temperatures for metal hose. Finding out as much as possible about the intended application, including any applicable standards, ensures not only that the materials of the assembly will be able to handle the application, but also that the assembly will conform to any required specifications.


The original article was written by Abby Svitana, Market Analyst at Hose Master.

Gallagher Fluid Seals is an authorized distributor of Hose Master. For more information about Hose Master products or if you have a custom engineering need, please contact Gallagher Fluid Seals.

Friction Reduction in the Seal

Wettablility of the Sealing Lip

The optimum function of rotary shaft seals depends on many factors. One of them is the “wettability” of the sealing lip. This parameter plays a particularly important role with synthetic lubricants such as polyglycol. If wetting is too low, not only does wear on the sealing lip increase, but the contact with the rotating shaft can also damage the shaft itself. The engineers at Freudenberg Sealing Technologies (FST) and Freudenberg Technology Innovation (FTI) have developed a new coating that forms a flexible bond with the elastomer of the seal and significantly improves wetting with synthetic lubricants.

Thanks to different materials and shapes, radial shaft seals for sealing rotating shafts can be used in a wide variety of industrial applications. What they all have in common is the demand for the lowest possible friction, low wear, and reliable sealing effect. Optimum lubrication of the entire tribological system depends on permanent wetting of the sealing lip.

This poses a particular challenge for poorly wetting lubricants based on polyglycol, which are used in drive technology, for example in worm gears. Too little wetting increases wear on the sealing lip and can also lead to increased shaft runout due to contact with the shaft, which ultimately necessitates replacement of the machine parts.

A flexible bond over a long service life

picture of friction reductionFST has developed the new 75 FKM 585 plus coating to achieve optimum lubrication in gears and pumps with synthetic lubricants. “We have succeeded in coating the sealing lip in such a way that polar oils distribute much better,” explains Dr. Matthias Adler from FST’s global materials development department in the Simmerring Industry division. “The mechanics of the layer have been modified so that it forms a flexible bond with the elastic material of the elastomer over a long service life – even under dynamic load. In addition, the coating is applied where no wear occurs.” The current development was specially designed for customers who already use the standard Simmerring 75 FKM 585 in drives for which the use of polyglycol oils is recommended by the manufacturers.

The elastomer is coated using plasma-assisted chemical vapor deposition (PE-CVD). In this process, the elements in the process gas form a chemical bond with the surface of the base body. The decisive criterion for the optimization of the wetting behavior is the targeted modification of the interaction between the coating and the synthetic lubricant. The measurements show that by using special components in the new surface coating such as carbon, oxygen and silicon in a certain molar ratio, optimal wetting can be achieved compared to the standard material 75 FKM 585.

New technology can be transferred to other materials

The layer thickness of 75 FKM 585 plus is a few hundred nanometers and its properties meet the standards of the manufacturers of industrial gear units with regard to oil/elastomer requirements. Although it is designed for particularly low wear at high revolutions, it has been shown that the coefficient of friction is significantly lower than that of the standard material, even at low speeds such as in the breakaway forces and mixed friction ranges. The newly developed technology is not limited to applications with FKM, adds Dr. Adler, “but can also be transferred to other materials. Initial tests on NBR and EPDM have also shown positive results in optimizing the interaction between coating and poorly wetting oils.”


The original article was published by Ulrike Reich, head of media relations & internal communications at FST.

Gallagher Fluid Seals is an authorized distributor of Freudenberg Sealing Technologies. For more information about how we can help with your specific application, please contact our engineering department.

Is an ASTM Callout the Best Way to Specify Your Elastomer Needs?

Article re-posted with permission from Parker Hannifin Sealing & Shielding Team.

Original content can be found on Parker’s Website and was written by Fred Fisher, Technical Sales Manager for Parker O-Ring & Engineered Seals Division.


ASTM Elastomer Compounds

elastomer materials pictureWhen looking at drawings to define a specific application or elastomer requirement: Is there value in using an ASTM elastomer compound description versus listing an approved Parker compound number?

Specifying a compound using the ASTM callout is a good start – it clearly defines what is wanted and it sets a minimum benchmark, which makes it easy for competitive vendors to understand what the need is. The ASTM standards also set specific test parameters which makes it much more simple to do an “apples to apples” comparison between two compounds. However, over time, here is what customers have learned:

Know Your Operating Requirements

1. The ASTM standards are very general; so when a customer defines a specific FKM they need using an ASTM callout, they might receive a compliant material that just barely meets the ASTM specifications, but did not meet the actual operating requirements. Because of that, a supplier may provide a customer with the lowest cost material. Let’s say the quality of the material is on the lower-end, but it meets the ASTM criteria requested. Because of that, the customer could see a 15% increase in assemblies requiring rework, plus a rising number of warranty claims due to seal failures. The twenty cents per seal that the customer saved for their $50 application would be offset by the cost of the increased product failures. And ultimately, this would result in an unhappy customer.

Know the Fluids Your Seals Will be Exposed to

fluid exposure2.  The ASTM standard does not specifically list what actual chemicals the seal has to be compatible with as well as the operating conditions. ASTM tests compatibility based on Standardized Testing Fluids, which are: Oils, Fuels, and Service Liquids. ASTM uses standard oils, which are defined by IRM 901 and 903. Again, the ASTM standards are excellent for comparing compounds, but most people do not have their seals operating in the ASTM reference oils and many sealing applications are exposed to multiple fluids.

Know What Your ASTM is Calling Out

3.  Most engineers or folks in purchasing who review or utilize older drawings have no idea why the original engineer chose the specific compound or why they used an ASTM callout.

So what is the best way to define and specify an elastomer? Most companies go through a technical process to specify, test. and confirm that an elastomer is the correct choice for their application. All elastomers tested and approved for the application should be clearly listed on the drawing. In addition, the drawing should clearly state that  the approved materials listed were tested to confirm their suitability for the application. All substitutes or new elastomers must be tested and approved by engineering prior to use.


Gallagher Fluid Seals is an authorized distributor for Parker. For more information about their products, including o-rings or their various compounds, contact Gallagher Fluid Seals today.

Spring Types and Materials in Sealing Systems

Springs are an integral part of all sealing systems. A simple air cylinder has O-rings to seal in the air, and the O-ring exhibits spring-like qualities to ensure a good seal over a broad temperature range.

But what are the different types of springs and materials in sealing systems? And how do you choose the best for your application?

image of metal spring types

Metal Springs

Metal springs, such as the Cantilever and Canted Coil spring, are used to energize polymers such as Teflon and ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW) to allow sealing in a wide range of temperatures. Selecting the correct spring material is critical to the life of the seal.

Metal energized seals are often subjected to a wide variety of fluids and temperature ranges, which then requires the correct material choice for the life of the seal in the application.

One of the earliest metal springs was the flat band or marcel expander, often made from common materials like 300 series Stainless Steel or heat treated 17-7 Stainless Steel.

These materials are often chosen for their tensile strength. But due to the cost to manufacture and the high volumes of spring required, these two expanders were often relegated to industrial or aerospace hydraulic systems.

If system fluids were not compatible with Stainless Steel, customers generally went to a different sealing system to avoid the high cost of short runs in these styles of energizers.

O-Rings cover a wide range of temperatures, and fluids, but generally not both. If there are multiple fluids involved, O-Rings often fail to provide compatibility over a range of fluids.

The use of Cantilever, Canted Coil or Helical coiled spring allowed for long runs and lower costs. The most common spring material is Stainless Steel, but these styles of spring lend themselves to materials that have a wide range of chemical and temperature range while maintaining tensile strength.

Alternative Spring Materials

Some of the more common alternative materials are Hastelloy and Elgiloy. While 17-7 is available, it’s seldom used because Elgiloy (while more expensive per pound) is often run at a higher volume, bringing the overall cost down making 17-7 less attractive due to cost.

Another style metal spring for polymers is the Garter spring. Garter springs are normally run on a per job basis, but because it’s made from wire, it can easily be wound from any material like Elgiloy or Stainless.

Garter springs are often used in rubber style lip seals, but we often find them coupled with polymer-style seals.

Mechanical Seals

Mechanical face seals typically marry a material with the fluids the seal will be running in. Mechanical seals have the overall body and internal springs made from specific materials capable of handling variations in temperature and fluids.

PEEK in Seals

Polymers are thought of as seal materials, but PEEK has been used as a spring in polymer-style seals. PEEK can be wound into helical style springs, and also formed into cantilever springs. As a Helical style, it can be wound into a diameter to energize Teflon or rubber lip seals.

If you consider radiation service, a PEEK spring makes an excellent choice keeping metals out of the seal.

How to Choose the Right Spring Material

While there are a variety of metals, often economics determine the practicality of specialty metals.

A consideration is reviewing the hardware used in the application as to what spring material is acceptable in an application. We often review what the customer is using in the rest of the service for determining a spring material.

Temperature is often a key factor in determining materials for spring. Elgiloy tends to do an excellent job in maintaining tensile strength at elevated temperatures.


The original article can be found on Eclipse Engineering’s website and was written by Cliff Goldstein.

Gallagher Fluid Seals is an authorized distributor of Eclipse engineering. For more information about choosing the right spring material for your application, contact our engineering department today.