Tag Archives: shaft seals

How Material and Spring Type Affect Friction Calculation

Dynamic Sealing Applications

This article will discuss how we understand and control friction in dynamic sealing applications.

It’s easy to stop a leak in a system by just welding it shut. But when you create a dynamic application, you generally have a limited amount of power to move the device you’re sealing.

Friction is a force that must be overcome in all moving pieces. Controlling friction allows us to make efficient equipment that can have a long wear life and move with a limited amount of force.

There are many factors that drive friction up or down in a dynamic application. Although this blog will focus on shaft seals, the same considerations apply to piston or face seals.

Below we’ll cover the following factors and how they affect the friction calculation in our seals:

  1. Shaft material, hardness, and finish.
  2. If the system will operate when lubricated or dry.
  3. The system pressure or vacuum.
  4. System operating temperature
  5. Seal material and the types of fillers.

canted flange with hardware

Seal Substrate

As a seal supplier, we usually like shaft materials to be hardened steel with surface finishes that are highly effective. Hardness above 50 Rc usually gives long wear life.

Having a good finish of 8 Ra. will insure long seal life and carry lubrication. However, depending on the application, there are times when a super finish of 2 or 3 Ra is justified.

Depending on shaft loading, there are many choices of surface finish that can reduce friction and improve the life of the seal. Understanding the bearing load under the seal helps to understand what finish is required to withstand the operating conditions.

There are some finishes that are detrimental to seal life. An example is a heavy chrome surface that looks sturdy, but usually can’t be ground smooth and is left with large peaks or valleys. Thin, dense chrome is often the opposite, giving good seal life if applied correctly. The engineers at Eclipse Engineering are prepared to make recommendations on hardness and finish. Continue reading How Material and Spring Type Affect Friction Calculation