Why do O-rings fail?

One of the most common types of seals is O-rings. They are made of elastomeric material and placed around two parts’ mating surfaces. O-rings are intended to prevent leaks from forming between these mating surfaces. However, O-rings can fail in some situations.

Incorrect size

There is no such thing as a universal O-ring. While they are all ring-shaped, O-rings come in different sizes. O-rings have two sizes: inner diameter and thickness. The inner diameter of an O-ring must be large enough to accommodate the parts with which it is used. The O-ring will fit loosely over the parts if the inner diameter is too large. As a result, pressurised gases or liquids passing through the components may leak through the O-ring.

Improper installation

Incorrectly installed O-rings may fail. A groove around the mating surface of a part is common. This groove serves as a home for an O-ring. Placing the O-ring in the groove creates a stronger seal that is more resistant to failure. However, it may fail if the O-ring is not in the groove.

Excessive stress

O-rings can withstand pressure due to their elastomeric construction. As a result, they will expand under pressure and then contract to their original size once the pressure is removed. But O-rings may fail if subjected to excessive pressure.

Expansion rupture

Expansion rupture is another cause of O-ring failure. It occurs when trapped gas or air expands, and the pressure under an O-ring can build up and may eventually rupture. The trapped, pressurised gas or air may cause the O-ring to burst.

Chemical degradation

Different materials are used to make various types of O-rings. They are usually made of an elastomeric material that can withstand a certain amount of pressure. However, there are dozens of different types of elastomeric materials, some of which may degrade when exposed to various chemicals.

Contact Fuzion Trading for details

O-rings can fail in various ways. However, choosing the right type of O-ring when shopping reduces the risk of failure.

Fuzion Trading works with and stocks a wide range of O-rings for industrial and commercial applications. Contact one of our representatives to learn more about our specialised range of O-rings. Alternatively, you can continue browsing our website for more information.