What is an O Ring? | What are O-Rings Used For?

11 February 2019
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What is an O Ring? | What are O-Rings Used For?
Everyone working in industry is surrounded by them, but many might still question exactly what is an O ring? And What are O rings used for? What sets them apart from other types of seals? An O ring is a seal to protect the equipment and ensure it functions properly and are incredibly varied. They come in different sizes and can be made from a variety of materials by various processes including moulding or extrusion. However, they all serve the same basic purpose. The function of O rings is to seal a joining of two pieces to ensure that no air, gas or liquid can pass. Typically, they are fitted into a groove and designed to resist pressure. The resistance is what prevents air or liquid from escaping or entering the joining.

Whenever two pieces of a machine are connected, there is a danger of some liquid – water, oil or other substance – seeping through the spot where the two edges meet. In some instances, even air getting through could jeopardize the function of the machine by affecting the pressure within a pipe. In instances where the two pieces connecting are round, such as piping, an O ring is the solution. A properly fitted ring will ensure that nothing escapes the joint and nothing enters. Joints can be the weakest spot in a piece of machinery, and it is vital to protect them with a high quality O ring made of a substance appropriate to the application.

All About O Rings

O rings are the most widely used seal in industry because they offer amazing value. They are both inexpensive and very effective. They are also incredibly versatile. They are suitable for both static and dynamic applications. If you are shopping for these seals, it is important to ask what material an O ring is made of before purchasing it. They are made with a variety of elastomer materials suitable for different environments and temperatures, and it is important to choose one made with a material that is appropriate for the purpose.

O rings are ideal for static applications such as pipes, cylinders, flanges and plates. Their static applications include both industrial and personal uses. In addition to machinery, they can be used in cameras, refrigerators, scuba gear and even the tap at the local pub.

What is an O ring’s biggest drawback? While they are used in both static and dynamic applications, high-speed movement can reduce their effectiveness. This is because the material needs to bounce back after being compressed by the movement, and in situations with fast-moving machinery, an O ring might not recover its shape fast enough to be 100% effective. They are ideal, however, for slower moving dynamic applications such as shafts, spindles and rotary transmission lead-throughs. They can cope with pivots, rotation and spiral movement.

The beauty of O rings is their simplicity. Simple is often better. Their one-piece construction means they are sturdier and less can go wrong. It also makes them easy to fit, but O rings do not last forever. In industrial settings, if an O ring wears out, it impacts productivity. That loss can be minimized, however, by maintaining a supply of replacement O-rings in the appropriate sizes so that if one goes, it can be replaced immediately.

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