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Facts at your Fingertips: Seal material properties

By Scott Jenkins, Chemical Engineering magazine |

Fluid seals for chemical process equipment are commonly made from a host of elastomeric and plastic materials. Selecting a seal material requires careful consideration of several criteria. Presented here are short descriptions of the major criteria for seal selection and a table outlining the properties of several of the most common seal materials. Seal selection criteria There are many possible factors that may play a role in which seal materials would perform best in a given application, but here are four major ones. Temperature capabilities. Each seal has a range of temperatures within which it is designed to be used. Near the service limit for each seal, the performance becomes less certain. At low temperatures, elastomers become harder and less pliable. Also, elastomer seals lose their rubber-like properties with decreasing temperatures. The changes experienced by elastomer seals at low temperatures are physical changes, and are generally reversible. Fluid compatibility. Seals must be chemically compatible with the fluids they will encounter in the process. Significant swelling and rapid deterioration can occur if not. In addition, factors such as concentration, operating pressure and temperatures, seal geometry and design,…
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