X Ring vs. O Ring: How to Choose The Correct One
What distinguishes an X ring vs. O ring is actually not the shape of the overall seal. That circular shape is why it is called a ring. The X or O is for how it looks if cut into a cross section. While an O ring has a smooth, convex surface, an X ring has four grooves. That amounts to two sealing surfaces per side for the X ring vs. just one for the O ring.
Strengths of the X Ring vs. O Ring
One of the most critical differences between the two rings is how they cope with a dynamic application. In an application with moving parts, the ring endures repetitive impact. An O ring will become compressed in this situation, potentially compromising the seal. How exactly an O ring reacts depends primarily on the material it is made of, but environmental factors such as moisture and temperature also influence how the O ring responds and durable it is in the specific application. An X ring is better designed for dynamic applications as the shape accommodates repetitive impact.
Another reason to choose an X ring for a dynamic application is that their structure prevents spiral twisting. The four ends of the X shape provide a stability that an O ring cannot offer. An O ring is perfectly adequate for some low-speed pivoting, rotating or spiralling movement, but an X ring can better accommodate faster motion. An O ring might do the job for a short period, but an X ring will be more durable in applications with rapidly moving parts.
In a static application, an O ring can offer advantages over an X ring. They are easier to install and their simple design makes them preferable for smaller spaces. In wet applications, such as equipment used underwater, an O ring is ideal.
The choice of X ring vs. O ring depends entirely on the specific application, right down to the details of how rapid movement is and how wet or dry the environment is. Knowing the challenges of a particular application is the key to making the right choice between X ring vs. O ring.
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