After last week’s post, I have gotten questions about material types for seals.
The four most commonly used materials for sealing applications are polyurethane (PU), acrylonitrile-butadiene-rubber (NBR), fluoro-rubber (FKM), and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).
Polyurethane is an organic material of high molecular weight whose chemical composition is characterized by a large number of urethane groups. Urethanes belong to the thermoplatic elastomers (TPE) family and close the gap between thermoplastic and elastomeric materials regarding hardness, deforming behavior and consistency. Within certain temperature limits, polyurethane possesses the elastic characteristics of rubber combined with the advantages of a rigid plastic.
The composition of the material is determined by three components: polyol; diisocyanate; and a chain extender. The type and amount of these materials used, and the reaction conditions, are decisive in determining the properties of the resulting polyurethane material. In general, polyurethanes possesses the following properties:
Temperature range for use: -30° to 80° C; high performance types (compounds) up to 110° C in mineral oils (long term exposure temperature).
NBR is a polymer of butadiene and acrylonitrile. The acrylonitrile (ACN) component affects the following properties of the NBR:
A NBR material with low ACN content has very good cold flexibility (down to approximately -45° C) and moderate resistance to oil and fuel. In contrast, a material with very high ACN content with optimum resistance to oil and fuels, may have a cold temperature flexibility only down to -3° C. With rising ACN content, the elasticity and the gas permeability decrease and the compression set becomes worse.
Temperature range for use (depending on the composition of the blend): -40° and 100° C and for short periods up to 130° C (the material hardens at higher temperatures). For special blends, the cold flexibility extends down to -55° C.
Copolymers, terpolymers or tetrapolymers with various compositions and with fluorine contents from 65% to 71%, which have varying resistance to surrounding media and varying cold flexibility can be made by polymerization of vinylidne fluoride (VF) and variable amounts of hexafluoropropylene (HFP), tetrafluoroethylene (TFE), 1-hydropentafluoropropylene (HFPE) and perfluoro (methylvinylether) (FMVE). Cross-linking is achieved either with diamines and bisphenols or with organic peroxides.
Newly developed materials (cross-lined by peroxides) have good resistance to media, which can only be tolerated to a small extent, if at all, by conventional FKM.
Temperature range for use: approximately -20° to 200° C (for short periods to 230° C). Special grades: -50° to 200° C.
PTFE is a polymer of tetrafluoroethylene. This non-elastic material is characterized by a series of outstanding properties:
The temperature tolerance is between -200° and 260° C; PTFE has some elasticity even at extremely low temperatures and therefore is used in many extreme cold temperature applications.
Check out this recent troubleshooting situation by one of our guys:
The machine in question had a complex hydraulic system, the heart of which comprised two engines driving ten hydraulic pumps. Six of the pumps were variable displacement and four of these had electronic horsepower control.
The symptoms of the problem were slow cycle times in combination with lug-down of the engines (loss of engine rpm). The machine had just been fitted with a new set of pumps.
The diagnosis of the mechanic in charge was that the hydraulic system was tuned above the power curve of the engines, that is the hydraulics were demanding more power than the engines could produce, resulting in lug-down and therefore, slow cycle times.
The other possible explanation of course, was that the engines were not producing their rated horsepower.
Due to the complexity of the hydraulic system, he knew that it would take around four hours to run a complete system check and tune-up. So in order to eliminate the easy things first, when he arrived on site he inquired about the condition of the engines and their service history.
The mechanic in charge not only assured him that the engines were in top shape, he was adamant that this was a “hydraulic” problem.
Four hours later, after running a complete check of the hydraulic system without finding anything significant, he was not totally surprised that the problem remained unchanged.
After a lengthy discussion, he managed to convince the mechanic to change the fuel filters and air cleaner elements on both engines.
This fixed the problem. It turned out that a bad batch of fuel had caused premature clogging of the engine fuel filters, which were preventing the engines from developing their rated horsepower.
Had the relatively simple task of changing the engine fuel filters been carried out when the problem was first noticed, an expensive service call and four hours of downtime could have been avoided.
ALWAYS check and eliminate the easy things FIRST.
Check out “The Beast”
Okay so it isn’t exactly a beast BUT it is a huge bench that allows us to test every aspect of any hydraulic component.
When you have us repair or rebuild any hydraulic component, it goes through rigorous testing on our hydraulic test stand.
We use the test stand for:
A monster machine that bends 10″ pipe.
This machine is being built to bend 10″ round pipe. Tim “the tool guy” Allen from Home Improvement would be proud of this bad boy.