Low temperature applications raise several concerns for seal manufacturers. Various industries such as railroad, automotive, and manufacturing demand optimum seal performance in low temperature and cold environments. For this reason, manufacturers need to employ tests and standards to evaluate the properties of rubber seals in cold temperatures.
The Trouble with Low Temperature
Low temperature applications test the reliability of seals. When exposed to low temperatures, elastomeric seals tend to contract. This can lead to decreased compression and leakage. In order to provide perfect sealing, rubber seals must be able to contract. Whereas, in lower temperature applications that are above their designated limits, seals become brittle and rigid. Moreover, the seal will undergo a compression set, and will allow for leak when reheated beyond the low temperature.
Avoiding Seal Failure by Conducting Low-temperature Testing
Various tests are conducted to determine the low-temperature characteristics of a specific rubber compound.. Three standard low-temperature tests are used to measure the physical characteristics and performance of a seal material:
some other tests used for seal testing are the ASTM D2240 Durometer Test and the ASTM D7426 Glass Transition Test. These tests have limited value for seal applications, as they provide a general evaluation of seal performance at low temperature.
Low temperature environment can have a negative impact on the performance of rubber seals. This is why stringent testing is essential to ensure the success of seals in cold environments.
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