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BASICS OF SEALING
Sealing Basics of sealing
Chapter 2 2.1 2.2 2.3 Chapter 3 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Chapter 4 4.1 4.2 4.3
Mechanical Seal The Basic Mechanical Seal How a Mechanical Seal Works
MECHANICAL SEAL TYPES
Pusher Type Unbalanced Conventional Non Pusher Balanced Cartridge
SELECTING METAL PARTS OF THE SEAL
Metal and Non Metal parts Of the Seal Choosing The Seal Face combination Selecting The Correct hard face
Chapter 5 5.1 5.2 Chapter 6 6.1 6.2 6.2.1 6.2.2 6.2.3 6.2.4 6.2.5 6.2.6 6.2.7 6.2.8 6.2.9
Seal Application Problems Controlling The Pressure In The Stuffing box Area
TROUBLESHOOTING OF MECHANICAL SEALS
Reasons of Seal failure Inspection of individual components The Carbon Face The Hard Face The Elastomer The metal Case The Springs The Sleeve Set Screw The Gland Bushing
CHAPTER 1 Basics of Sealing
1.1 Sealing In rotating equipment the required rotational mechanical energy is either input or output. In both cases clearances are to be provided for smooth rotation of shafts and other mechanical power transmitting components, these clearance are the passages from where the working medium of the process can leak out, the process of preventing such leakage is called sealing.
1.2 Basics of Sealing There are two kinds of seals: static and dynamic. Static seals are used where no movement occurs at the location to be sealed. Gaskets and O-rings are examples of static seals. When surfaces move relative to each another the seals used are called dynamic seals. for example, where a rotating shaft transmits power through the wall of a tank (Fig. 1.1), through the casing of a pump (Fig. 1.2), or through the housing of other rotating equipment such as a filter or screen.
Fig. 1.1 Cross Section of Tank and Mixer
Fig. 1.2 Typical Centrifugal Pump A common application of sealing devices is to seal the rotating shaft of a centrifugal pump. (Figures 1.3 and 1.4).
Fig. 1.3 Centrifugal Pump, Liguid End
Fig.1. 4 Fluid Flow in Centrifugal Pump
As the impeller vanes rotate, the liquid leaves the impeller, under pressure through the pump discharge. Discharge pressure will force some liquid to escape along the rotating shaft, seals are necessary to limit the escape of the product to the atmosphere. Such sealing devices are typically either packing or mechanical seals.
Limited leakage of liquid Reduced Power loss.1. collars. Mechanical seal hardware including gland rings. Ability to seal higher pressures and corrosive environments. 3.1 Simple Mechanical Seal 6 .1: 1. Advantages of mechanical seals over conventional packing are as follows: 1. 2. The wide variety of designs allows use of mechanical seals in almost all rotating equipment applications. compression rings. A set of primary seal faces: one rotary and one stationary…see Fig. 2.CHAPTER 2 Mechanical Seals 2. 4. 5. Reduced maintenance costs. 2. Less shaft or sleeve wear.2 The Basic Mechanical Seal All mechanical seals are constructed of three basic parts as shown in Fig. springs and bellows. seal ring and insert. pins. 2. 2. 2. 3.1 Mechanical Seals A mechanical seal is a device which forms a running seal between rotating and stationary parts. Fig. wedges and V-rings. A set of secondary seals known as shaft packings and insert mountings such as 0-rings. 6.
one face is held stationary in a housing and the other face is fixed to. The primary seal is at the seal face. and rotates with. it's necessary to know about the operating conditions and the product to be sealed.3 How A Mechanical Seal Works The primary seal is achieved by two very flat. Fig. lapped faces. The other is usually a relatively hard material like silicon-carbide. One of the faces is usually a nongalling material such as carbon-graphite. Thorough information about the product and environment will allow selection of the best seal for the application. Dissimilar materials are usually used for the stationary insert and the rotating seal ring face in order to prevent adhesion of the two faces. The leakage path at Point B is blocked by either an 0-ring. As in all seals. To select the best seal design.2. There are four main sealing points within an end face mechanical seal (Fig. 2. the rubbing contact between these two flat mating surfaces do not allow the liquid or gas to pass through and thus minimizes leakage. 2. The softer face usually has the smaller mating surface and is commonly called the wear nose. Leakage paths at Points C and D are blocked by gaskets or 0-rings. 7 . Point A. the shaft.2 Sealing Points for Mechanical Seal The faces in a typical mechanical seal are lubricated with a boundary layer of gas or liquid between the faces.2). a V-ring or a wedge.
Figure 2. The secondary sealing elements are often elastomers.1 a Parts of a pusher type seal Figure 3. The stationary face is seated in a flange which is bolted onto the pump cover. Figure 3.1 b Product flow in a pusher type seal 8 . The rotating parts are installed on a shaft sleeve or directly on the shaft.4 shows a typical pusher type seal as available in the market. consists of a rotating face. a stationary face and secondary sealing elements with adaptive metal parts such as a flange and a sleeve. For most seals the rotating face can move in the axial direction and is kept in place by a spring holder and one or more springs.CHAPTER 3 Mechanical Seal Types 3.3a & b.1 PUSHERTYPE: A typical 'pusher type' mechanical seal figure 2. The gasket that can move axially with the rotating face is called a 'dynamic' gasket. but by special design PTFE can also be used.
Figure 3.2 A typical pusher type seal The pusher seals' advantage is that it's inexpensive and commercially available in a wide range of sizes and configurations. and are more stable when subjected to vibration. leak less. Its disadvantage is that it is prone to secondary seal hang-up and fretting of the shaft or sleeve.Figure 3. 3. Examples are the Dura RO and Crane 9T.3 9 . misalignment. and cavitation. The disadvantage is their relative low pressure limit. If the closing force exerted on the seal faces exceeds the pressure limit.2 UNBALANCED: They are inexpensive. the lubricating film between the faces is squeezed out and the highly loaded dry running seal fails.
4 Unbalanced.6 3.5 Single spring unbalanced Figure 3.conical sping Figure 3.Figure 3. Although setting a mechanical seal is relatively simple.3 CONVENTIONAL: Examples are the Dura RO and Crane Type 1 which require setting and alignment of the seal (single. double. today’s 10 . tandem) on the shaft or sleeve of the pump.
3. Bellow type mechanical seal is very similar to pusher. The main advantages are its ability to handle high and low temperature applications.4 NON-PUSHER: The non-pusher or bellows seal does not have to move along the shaft or sleeve to maintain seal face contact.7 Bellow Bellow Figure 3. Figure 3. and does not require a secondary seal (not prone to secondary seal hang-up). which allows the use of grafoil for high temperature applications.8 11 . A disadvantage of this style seal is that its thin bellows cross sections must be upgraded for use in corrosive environments. A bellows seal avoids the use of a ‘dynamic’ gasket. but uses a welded metal bellows to achieve flexibility in the design.emphasis on reducing maintenance costs has increased preference for cartridge seals.
9 a Principle of action of a bellow type seal Figure 3.9 c 3. 12 .5 BALANCED: Balancing a mechanical seal involves a simple design change. lower seal face loading. This makes them well suited to handle liquids with poor lubricity and high vapor pressures such as light hydrocarbons. Examples are Dura CBR and PBR and Crane 98T and 215. and generate less heat.9 b Figure 3.Figure 3. which reduces the hydraulic forces acting to close the seal faces. Balanced seals have higher-pressure limits.
6 CARTRIDGE: Examples are Dura P-SO and Crane 1100 which have the mechanical seal premounted on a sleeve including the gland and fit directly over the Model 3196 shaft or shaft sleeve (available single.10 3. of course is no requirement for the usual seal setting measurements for their installation. Cartridge seals lower maintenance costs and reduce seal setting errors.11Clamped seat 13 . tandem). double.Figure 3. Diagrams showing some typical seal assemblies- Figure 3. The major benefit.
12 O.Ring Seat 14 .Figure 3.
not set-screwed to the shaft.1 The above illustrations describe two seal designs that operate with no metal parts exposed to the sealing fluid. etc. • If the wetted parts of the seal are manufactured from iron. You cannot use sets-crews in these designs because nonmetallic seals are often used on glass coated shafts. Please note that in both cases the seals are clamped. steel.CHAPTER 4 Selecting Metal Parts of The seal 4. stainless steel or bronze. Polyethylene.1 Metalic and Non metallic parts of the Seal If the pump's wetted parts are manufactured from a non-metallic material such as Teflon®. and they are not showing signs of corrosion. Figure 4. the seal components (with 15 . we choose non-metallic seal components. Kynar.
The following list describes some of those chemicals and identifies the metal normally selected by the equipment manufacturer for chemical resistance. concentration. Keep in mind that temperature. There are exceptions to all general rules however. and it turns out that there are a number of places we cannot use grade 316 stainless steel seal components successfully and yet iron. other grades of stainless steel or bronze are usually satisfactory. • The springs must be manufactured from “Hastelloy C” or a similar corrosion resistant material to avoid the problems associated with Chloride Stress Corrosion and the 300 series of stainless steel. Wet Magnesium Sulfate Monoethanolamine Mixed Acids Nickel Chloride Nuclear Primary Water Systems Bronze Bronze Carbon Steel or Bronze Bronze Bronze 303/304 Stainless 303/304 Stainless Bronze 303/304 Stainless 430 Stainless Bronze 303/304 Stainless 430 Stainless Carbon Steel 303/304 Stainless 303/304/430 Stainless Bronze 303/304 Stainless 304 Stainless 16 .the exception of the springs) can usually be manufactured from grade 316 Stainless Steel. stress etc. Dry Hydrogen Chloride Gas. CHEMICAL METAL Aroclor Bronze Barium Carbonate Benzene Benzene. so check with someone knowledgeable before you specify any metal components. affect the chemical resistance of any material. Hot Bromine Gas Calcium Carbonate Phenol (Carbolic Acid) Butyl Phthalate Dichlorodifluoromethane (F12) Diethyl Ether Ethanol Ethanolamine Fluorine Gas. steel.
4571 or V4A England EN58J Sweden 2343 17 .045 % The designation 316 stainless steel is not used in all countries. you can check your facility for any experience you might have with 316 stainless parts in a similar service.030 % Phosphorous 0.Potassium Bicarbonate Potassium Chlorate Potassium Hydrate Potassium Oxalate Potassium Permanganate Pyrogallic Acid Sodium Benzoate Sodium Bichromate Sodium Bromide Sodium Chlorate Sodium Citrate Sodium Dichromate Sodium Ferricyanide Sodium Fluoride Sulfuric Acid Titanium Tetrachloride Uric Acid 303/304 Stainless 303/304 Stainless 303/304/430 Stainless Bronze Bronze Bronze Bronze Bronze Bronze Bronze Bronze Bronze Bronze Bronze Carbon Steel or 430 Stainless Carbon steel Bronze If you have any doubt about the compatibility of 316 Stainless Steel with your pump. If no such experience exists and you are uncomfortable making the selection. The following list shows the designations used by some other nations for a similar product: • • • Germany 1. As an additional matter of interest the material we refer to as grade 316 stainless steel is made from the following ingredients: • • • • • • • • Chrome 18-20 % Nickel 8-12 % Carbon 0.08 % Iron 64-70 % Silicone 1% Manganese 2% Sulphur 0. contact a qualified metallurgist.
which will in either case ruin it. To manufacture the finished product we place this carbon-graphite mixture in an oversized mold using a hydrocarbon as the glue to hold the powder together. but the fewer the better because these impurities could possibly present a chemical compatibility problem and a difference in face density. We use graphite for its lubricating qualities and good heat conductivity. If carbon is heated to 4000 degrees Fahrenheit (2000°C) under pressure. At the end of 18 . It is this laminar structure that allows the graphite to release from the carbon/ graphite face and deposit on the hard face in the same manner a graphite pencil will write on a sheet of paper. The seal companies pay for the necessary molds and then retain the exclusive use of them. We use the carbon for its corrosion resistance and strength.2 CHOOSING THE SEAL FACE COMBINATION SELECTING THE CARBON/ GRAPHITE FACE The most common face combination you will be selecting is a good grade of carbongraphite running against a corrosion resistant hard face. The mixture is then compressed and placed in an oven at 2000° Fahrenheit (1000° C) for a period of thirty to sixty days. It is not a very good conductor of heat and is a poor lubricant because of its crystal structure. Two things determine the cost of these elements: • • How finely is the product milled? A fine talc is desirable. Graphite is a good conductor of heat. It is manufactured by heating an organic material (it once was alive) to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit (1000°C). A good carbon-graphite mixture would be about 80% carbon and 20% graphite. graphite and nothing else. A really good seal face would be a mixture of carbon. The seal face we refer to as a carbon is really a compound of carbon and graphite. With few exceptions mechanical seal companies purchase carbon-graphite molded faces from one of several carbon manufacturers. Carbon is a very different element.• • Hungary KO35 Czechoslovakia 17246 4. The carbon is purchased as a by-product of a manufacturing process while the graphite is mined with the main sources being in Canada and Madagascar. The hydrocarbon will convert to carbon at this temperature. a natural lubricant and has a laminar grain structure similar to a deck of playing cards allowing the individual grains to slide over one another. How pure is the product? There will always be some impurities. it will convert to graphite. The piece must be heated slowly or otherwise the carbon will combine with oxygen to form carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide.
You now have a denser carbon/graphite. About this time you hit a point of diminishing returns.. as well as pharmaceutical and food products because of the difficulties in cleaning the lapped seal faces. where a vacuum will remove impurities that may have imbedded into the porous face. but not fired in the furnace. (one inch) meaning that 50 mm (2 inches) will be impregnated if the hydrocarbon can penetrate from all sides of the shape. There is also a certain amount of shrinking that takes place during this converting process. but you are a long way from a good one. This first impregnation will penetrate approximately 25 mm. so the third impregnation is pushed into the carbon/graphite. If you want a serious carbon you must place the component into a tank like appatatus called an autoclave. The face is then placed back into the oven and fired at 2000° Fahrenheit (1000 C. At this point any inorganic (it never lived) material can be imbedded into the carbon/graphite shape. Metal salts are inorganics frequently used by some manufacturers. The autoclave will then be filled with a liquid hydrocarbon and pressurized to force the hydrocarbon into the porous face under high pressure.020 inches) will complete the impregnations. In the old days the hydrocarbon was “pitch” from a tree but in modern times a variety of hydrocarbons are available.0 mm. The problem is: • • • It has poor tensile strength It has low heat conductivity because the mixture is very porous. each taking 30 to 60 days in the oven.) for an additional 30 to 60 days where the impregnate is converted to carbon. Two more impregnations at 3. This type of seal face is referred to as an “unfilled carbon and is available from several manufacturers both in the United States and abroad. (0.125 inches) and 0. If you should use such an impregnation you would have to be concerned about the chemical compatibility of the filler material with the product you are trying to seal.5 mm (0. 19 . It has low density that would present a problem in vacuum applications.this time the piece has shrunk a small amount but still resembles a real carbon face.
drugs. Hot sulfuric acid. etching and medicine. explosives. textiles. Sulfur trioxide used to manufacture sulfuric acid. cleaning castings and fermentation.125 inches) impregnation A = 0. Additionally look for any chemical whose name contains the word: • • • • • Chlorate Nitrate Perchlorate Permanganate Peroxide The Halogens are another group of chemicals that will attack carbon.Figure 4. a halogen and some special applications. the last impregnate will wear away from the seal face. If a seal manufacturer needs a only a few seal faces for test purposes he can machine them out of a good grade of unfilled carbon and then send them back to the carbon manufacturer for the final impregnations. Perchloric Acid . Hydrofluoric acid used for etching. Here is a list of some of the common oxidizers: • • • • • • • • • • • • • Aqua Regia (a combination of nitric and hydrochloric acid) used for dissolving metals. and esters. Ferric chloride used in sewage treatment photography.0 mm (0. Nitric acid used in fertilizer. Oleum used in the manufacture of detergents and explosives. used in bleaching paper pulp. explosives.0 mm (1 inch) impregnation B = 3. When ever possible carbon-graphite is the face that should be the standard in all of your mechanical seals. Chloric acid ignites organic material on contact.5 mm (0. Sodium hypochlorite. It can be used in any chemical or combination of chemicals except an oxidizing agent. but will remain on the outside and inside diameters providing the density the face needs to hold vacuum and provide the surface needed to prevent bacteria and other un-desirable elements from penetrating into the composite. Small batch applications are handled like this also. Chlorous acid. the most widely used industrial chemical. medicine and feed additives. over 200 degrees Fahrenheit (100 C). the oxidizing agents will combine with the carbon to form carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.2 • • • C = 25. and tanning textiles. As mentioned.2N Perchloric acid used in the manufacture of medicine. dyeing.020 inches) impregnation As shown in the diagram. Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK) a common solvent. They are easy to identify because their chemical name ends in the letters "ine": 20 .
You should contact the carbon manufacturers for their catalog showing you the grades they have available and the physicals (specifications) of their unfilled carbon. Some de-ionized water applications can attack carbon.• • • • • Astintine Bromine Chlorine Fluorine Iodine The oxidizer's chemical concentration and temperature will affect the degree of attack. Most sealing applications can be satisfied with an unfilled carbon running against one of several hard faces. Children recognize this problem when they lick the end of a graphite pencil to make the writing darker. Cryogenic service uses a special carbon that has some inorganic compounds added to compensate for the fact that adsorbable gases or vapors are not present to weaken the interlacing bonding forces between the carbon and the graphite. It is not unusual to find five similar seals. If you are sealing hot oil and have to meet fugitive emission standards. You can then check with your seal supplier to be sure he is using the proper unfilled grade in your mechanical seals. and as a result you end up with a spare parts problem. If you are handling any of these chemicals or any chemical you suspect might attack carbon. Recent experience shows that all grades of carbon are no longer being recommended in the following applications: • • • If there is a possibility of color contamination of the product. 21 . Some paper. • Immerse the carbon into the liquid and leave it there for a reasonable period of time. Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) use filled carbon in their seals. A couple of weeks should be enough in most cases. such as the ability to fracture without producing many dust particles. It is these adsorbable gases and/ or vapors that allow the graphite to release from the compound and coat the hard surface with a low friction-lubricating layer. with five different part numbers and the only difference between them are the grades of carbon/ graphite. A carbon company can provide several unfilled grades depending upon the number of impregnations (density) and special characteristics. This is an important characteristic in some split seal designs. pharmaceutical and paint applications have this potential color problem. it would pay to test an unfilled carbon for compatibility prior to installing a mechanical seal.
etc. Most of the information was supplied by the Pure Carbon Company of St. Self-lubricating. Use these numbers only as a guide. Take a look at the chart labeled: "HARD FACE MATERIALS" This chart lists the physicals for some of the most common hard face materials used in the mechanical seal industry. Pennsylvania. Some companies change the generic name of the material to confuse you. Mary's. Be sure the face component you choose is identified by material. type and grade so that you can check out the physicals. Make sure you know exactly what you are purchasing or you will never be able to trouble shoot a seal failure caused by a wrong material selection. The idea is to get as many of them as you can in a properly chosen face combination. Needless to say all of these characteristics are not available in the same face material. Their grade P658RC would be a typical unfilled carbon. You can locate these carbon companies on the "Web" or find them in various technical directories such as the Thomas Register in the United States. Good heat conductivity. newer materials. USA. Individual manufacturers use different testing methods and express the results in different metric and imperial units. availability. I have also listed some of the hard face manufacturers so that you can contact them directly for test results. The ability to be molded in thin cross-sections. It is a reproduction of a page from the advertising literature of the Pure Carbon Company of St. High modulus of elasticity to prevent face distortion. Temperature cycling capability. latest specifications. Now that we know which carbon-graphite to use we can look at the hard faces that are available to us. High strength in compression.3 SELECTING THE CORRECT HARD FACE MATERIAL The ideal hard face material would incorporate many features including the following: • • • • • • • • • • • Excellent corrosion resistance. 4. Good wearing characteristics (hardness). Pennsylvania. With just a few exceptions seal companies purchase hard face materials from outside vendors. Easy insertion into a metal holder Low coefficient of friction.I have included a typical specification chart for you. shear and tension. High temperature capability. Marys. 22 .
The above chemicals can leach the silicon out of the silicon carbide leaving a weakened. reaction bonded silicon carbide has been demonstrated to have the best wear characteristics of all the possible face combinations. 23 .There is some additional information you should know about the materials listed in the chart: Reaction bonded silicon carbide • • • • • Reaction bonded silicon carbide is produced by adding molten silicon to a mixture of silicon carbide and carbon. The following chart shows some of them. A reaction between the silicon and carbon bonds the structure while the excess silicon metal fills the majority of the pits left in the resultant material. hard matrix that can act like a grinding wheel against the softer carbon face. There is almost no shrinkage during the process. Shunk and Hoechst of West Germany are also manufacturers of reaction bonded silicon carbide. Reaction bonded silicon carbide is difficult to insert into a metal holder so it is usually supplied in a solid rather than a composite configuration. There are many manufacturers of reaction bonded silicon carbide. Be aware that high pH chemicals such as caustic can attack this grade of silicon carbide. Reaction bonded silicon carbide has proven to be more chip resistant than the sintered version Avoid the following hifg pH chemicals when using reaction bonded silicon carbide : o Sodium Hydroxide o Potassium Hydroxide o Nitric Acid * o Green Sulfate Liquor * o Calcium Hydroxide * o Hydrofluoric Acid o Caustics and strong acids o Most high pH chemicals * Results vary with temperature and concentration. As of this writing carbon-graphite vs. The silicon content is about 8% to 15%. DESIGNATION KT Refel SC-2 HD-630 PS-9242 COMPANY Carborundum BNFL Coors Norton Pure Carbon • • • ESK.
brass or bronze.Self sintered silicon carbide (sometimes called Alpha sintered. 24 . Although the preferred seal face material. Siliconized graphite • • The manufacturing process uses a permeable form of carbon graphite that is reaction sintered in silicon at elevated temperature. A resin impregnate is added to increase the density. This forms an outer layer of silicon carbide on the graphite base. it often is too brittle for some seal face designs using thin cross section components. Self-sintered silicon carbide carries a slight price premium compared to the reaction bonded version. Galvanic corrosion can take place between a passivated stainless steel shaft or seal face holder and the active nickel in the nickel base tungsten carbide seal face. Most process chemicals will not attack these self sintered materials. This can be a real problem in caustic and other high pH fluids. The metallic binders in tungsten carbide are also subject to galvanic attack near copper. Unlike reaction bonded SiC there is no free silicon present. In the following box you will find some of the bigger manufacturers of self sintered silicon carbide: COMPANY Carborundum General Electric Kyocera DESIGNATION SA-80 Sintride SC-201 • • • Sintered silicon carbide is almost impossible to shrink into a metal holder. There does not appear to be any great difference in the chemical resistance. wear or friction of these two grain shapes. The temperature at the seal face is higher than the temperature of the sealing fluid so the attack takes place quicker. There are two grain shapes available to the manufacturer. Alpha (hexagonal structure) and Beta (cubic structure). Tungsten Carbide • • • Cobalt and nickel are the common binders used to hold the tungsten particles together. These direct sintered materials have no metal phase and are therefore more resistant to chemical attack. Each is susceptible to selective chemical attack of this metallic binder that will leave a skeletal surface structure of tungsten carbide particles. direct sintered or pressure less sintered) • • • • This material begins as a mixture of silicon carbide grains and a sintering aid that is pressed and subsequently sintered as its name implies.
Most oils coke between the seal faces and can pull out pieces of carbon causing fugitive emissions problems. o If either face is "out of flat" it is almost impossible for the faces to lap themselves back together again. o If nothing black is allowed in the system because of a possible color contamination of the product you are pumping. o In the event the equipment is "run dry" carbon/ graphite is self-lubricating. Oxidizing chemicals are listed in another section of this manual. It takes a film thickness of at least one micron at operating temperature and face load to be classified as a lubricating fluid. Hard faces have their own problems: 25 . Here are some additional thoughts about hard seal faces: • Many sales people promote two hard faces running against each other as the ideal face combination for slurry and similar services. It should be noted that many fluids fall into that category. Use two hard faces in the following applications: o If you are sealing hot oil or almost any hot hydrocarbon. a large diameter stuffing box or some other method usually employed to seal a large percentage of solids. including black O-rings.• Tungsten carbide is less difficult to insert into a metal holder so it is the most common material used in metal bellows and other hard face metal composite designs. Keep in mind that solids cannot penetrate • • between seal faces unless they open. o If the product you are sealing is an oxidizer that will attack all forms of carbon. These Halogen fluids include: chlorine fluorine bromine astintine iodine o If you are pumping a slurry and you cannot keep the two lapped faces together by flushing with a clean liquid. Seal faces are lapped to a flatness of less than one micron (three helium light bands) and as long as they stay in contact solids are filtered out. o Some deionized (DI) water applications can attack any form of carbon. Here are some of the main disadvantages of using two hard faces in a seal application: o Higher cost compared to using carbon-graphite as a seal face. Without this lubricating fluid you will generate undesireable heat at the seal faces o Carbon graphite can easily be inserted into a metal holder. o Carbon graphite provides an additional lubricating film if you are sealing a poor or non-lubricating fluid. o Halogens can attack all forms of carbon. suction recirculation. o If the product tends to stick the faces together.
• • • • • • • V . N .5% ceramic. Sometimes PV numbers dictate the use of two hard faces. Hot oil if the seal has to meet fugitive emission standards. Because hot water is often a non-lubricant you can develop "slip stick" vibration problems. If no elastomer proves to be acceptable a non-elastomer (metal bellows) seal may be your only answer. 26 . It was created from published information. but hydrogen embrittlement is suspected as the culprit. Chemraz (a registered trademark of Greene. Tweed & Co. Dupont E60 Viton®. Hot water can cause cracking problems with both 85% and 99. most of the chemicals can be handled by either fluorocarbon (Viton® and Fluorel are typical examples) or ethylene propylene.butyl U . Dupont Dow) are typical examples. Cracks have been observed after seven to eight temperature cycles.o o o Plated or coated faces can "heat check" and crack due to the differential expansion of the coating and the base material. The compound specified is the specific one that has some water immersion capability. Use an unfilled carbon in all applications except in those applications that require two hard faces and: • • Cryogenic and dry running applications require a special carbon with an embedded organic to release the graphite.fluorocarbon.Unknown.buna N Bu. The cause is not fully understood.ethylene propylene C . The following paragraphs describe the codes used in the chart. Parker 747-75 and Parker V884-85 are typical examples. or unreliable test data. 4. various industry guidelines and many years of practical experience by field sales and engineering people. 3M Fluorel 2174.) or Kalrez® (a registered trademark of E.4 CHOOSING THE CORRECT ELASTOMER The O-ring selection chart is an attempt to select the fewest number of elastomers that will give you satisfactory sealing. Unfilled carbon should be your first choice for a material to run against the above mentioned hard faces. Keep in mind that this O-ring selection chart is only a guide to help you in selecting the correct elastomer for your mechanical seal application. E .perfluoroelastomers. Keep in mind that PV (pressure x velocity) factors as a design tool are unreliable because carbon is sensitive to "P" but not to "V".neoprene B . As you can see from the selection.I. Immersion testing or plant experience is your best bet.
filters. etc. Although the elastomer may be chemically compatible with the sealing fluid it could still fail if the temperature limit is exceeded. Plant experience is your best protection in elastomer selection.Most mechanical seals use at least one dynamic elastomer so even small amounts of swelling or chemical attack is almost always unacceptable. chlorates and some nitrates are also strong oxidizing agents. In most cases Chemraz or Kalrez® will handle the job if there is no plant experience or if immersion testing is not practical. Oxidizers spontaneously emit oxygen at either room temperature or under slight heating. Elastomers are poor conductors of heat. gages. Most plants have prior experience in handling their chemicals so look for elastomers in other mechanical seals. the more likely the attack. When using this chart please keep the following in mind: • • Chemical attack will usually double with a 10°C (18° F) increase in temperature. Compression set is often the first indication of high heat followed by a shrinking and hardening of the elastomer. but if you have no experience in handling these chemicals it would be wise to immersion test both the black O&endash.ring and carbon face prior to installing a mechanical seal. valves. shape or appearance of the O-ring. so two seals may be required. Sometimes you can duplicate the operating temperature by placing the test vessel in an oven or on a hot plate when ever practical. Remember that each of these elastomers has an upper and lower temperature limit. Hydrogen peroxide and benzoyl peroxide are typical. so cooling one side of the O-ring does not always allow the lower temperature to conduct to the hot side. If the stuffing box temperature is too high it will be necessary to cool down the seal area. causing chemical attack. The largest group of oxidizing materials is comprised of peroxides. hoses. It is always worth a try. it is called an oxidizer. Excessive temperature is usually indicated by a change in weight. or the carbon black used to color O-rings. Keep in mind that quenching or the use of two seals with a cool barrier or buffer fluid 27 . This chart normally shows only individual chemicals so you may have to rely upon plant experience or immersion test to determine compatibility. These materials additionally constitute a dangerous fire hazard. Using an installed stuffing box heating or cooling jacket is the obvious solution. The higher the concentration and the higher the temperature. The chemical concentration and temperature determine the degree of carbon and elastomer attack. If the chemical name is followed by (*). lined pipe. • • • • The product you are sealing is often a mixture of several chemicals and/ or may have a trade name. The oxygen can then combine with the carbon in mechanical seal faces. Permanganates. strainers. If the elastomer is located close to the seal face it will see the additional heat that is being generated by rubbing friction.
TEMPT. Be aware that EPR is easily attacked by any petroleum product so be careful with the type of lubricant you use to lubricate this elastomer. o Condensate often contains dissolved amines that could attack the elastomer. ELASTOMER Fluorocarbon (Viton®) Ethylene propylene Chemraz Kalrez® Neoprene Buna N Buna S • F. The term water does not describe a single product. o The chloride concentration in salt water varies widely. o Wastewater is liable to be any thing. There is a high temperature version of EPR available (500°F or 260°C). Nuclear. the application is limited to the dynamic elastomer on the inboard side of a dual seal application. but it cannot be used if air or oxygen is present on one side of the O-ring. Be sure to use an API (American Petroleum Institute) gland or better still. two mechanical seals in these applications. Ethylene propylene rubber (EPR) is a very common elastomer mentioned in this chart. and pharmaceutical plants often specify specific grades of elastomers and require cure date information for certain products. cleaners and steam are often used to flush lines and systems. The result is that sometimes the water can attack stainless steel and some seal face materials including carbon. o Water treatment varies with each application. You may have to do some immersion testing to be sure if your choices are satisfactory. RANGE -15 +400° -70 +300° -20 +450° 0 +500° -45 +300° -65 +225° -75 +250° -25 +205° -55 +150° -30 +230° -20 +260° 45 +150° -55 +105° -60 +120° • • • • Solvents. Some processes will not allow any thing "black" in the system. These treatment chemicals and additives can attack some elastomers. White colored O-rings are available for many compounds. For instance: o De-ionized and demineralized water have had various ions and minerals removed and as a result they are constantly trying to replace the minerals as the water moves through the pipes and other hardware. For all practical purposes silicone grease is probably your safest lubricant. cleaners and steam. RANGE C. In other words. If cooling is not possible you will have to use a metal bellows or some other type of non-elastomer seal. o Water hardness varies with geographic locations. 28 . Many of the chemicals listed are dangerous. TEMPT.between them cools only one side of the o-ring. Be sure the elastomer you choose is chemically and temperature compatible with these solvents. food products. If you are working in any of these areas check for a list of approved materials. but to be sure check for compatibility.
strainers. If you have any doubt about your water conduct an O-ring immersion test prior to installing the mechanical seal. etc. They are used as a gasket and are a lot more forgiving than dynamic O-rings because a small amount of swell can be tolerated that might even improve their sealing. 29 . "Test" is the next step. V-rings. If you have no experience with elastomers in this fluid go to step "3". Look for elastomers in valves. If a reliable flush is available the elastomer may be compatible with the flush.Ethylene propylene rubber (EPR) is the first choice in most water and water based applications but the variance noted above can cause premature O-ring failure. Quad rings etc. If possible start with two elastomers of the same compound and immerse only one of them in the fluid and leave it there for one to two weeks. Most mechanical seal designs incorporate both dynamic and static elastomers. Check the special elastomers chart. • • Dynamic O-rings are required to flex and roll with the shaft movement. but remember that if you lose the flushing fluid the product will attack the elastomer. Look around the plant for present or past experience. U-cups. filters. individual seal companies use wedges. If neither of these materials is satisfactory you will have to use a nonelastomer seal such as a metal bellows design. most chemicals and chemical compounds can be successfully sealed with either ethylene propylene or a good grade of Viton® as the dynamic elastomer. but O-rings have a lot of advantages over these other elastomer shapes in mechanical seal design. You can then compare that O-ring to the one that was not immersed. If your product is not on the list or is a combination of several chemical on the list. The four step procedure for selecting the correct elastomer is: • • • • Look up the chemical in the O-ring selection chart . gages. When you are selecting an O-ring. or any other elastomer shape for your mechanical seal application remember that with the exception of solvents. This means that a very low shaft squeeze and a smooth shaft finish are important to prevent seal hang up or hysteresis. If the elastomer does not pass this test go to the last step Chemraz or Kalrez® is usually the end of the line. There are many elastomer shapes available to you. As an example: • They can seal both pressure and vacuum. other seals. shape or appearance. go to the next step. If the elastomer is not compatible with the fluid it will change weight. Static O-rings do not have to move. They must also be free to flex and roll to compensate for mechanical seal face wear.
There are several of these compounds that you should know about. KALREZ®. Can be used to 600°F (316°C) Not recommended for hot water or steam applications. O-rings are manufactured to a tolerance of ± 0.08 to 0 0. They are available in a variety of compounds. O-rings reduce shaft fretting dramatically because of this ability to flex and roll. A "low compression set" compound (about 25% compression at 400°F) (205°C).13 mm) before they roll. and then they can roll up to half of their diameter. making spare parts and inventory a lot easier. 30 . Slightly harder than 4079. most designers have settled on only a few O-ring cross sections. The O-ring configuration is usually the first shape available when a new compound becomes available from the manufacturer. ethylene oxide and propylene oxide. Unfortunately we are not there yet. This means that the seal spring or springs can be designed for face loading only. To 550°F (288°C).003 to 0. You cannot put them in backwards. Most of the O-ring compounds are available in a wide range of durometer or hardness. Because they are self-energizing there is no need to spring-load them to the shaft or sleeve. Not recommended for pure water or steam at higher temperatures.• • • • • • • • • • • • They can flex 0. Not recommended for use in organic or inorganic acids at high temperature or for rapid temperature cycling applications. There are plenty of distributors. Compound 1018. Unlike other shapes. You have a few choices of compounds: • • • • Compound 4079. Their cost is low compared to other shapes. In recent years the elastomer industry has produced a variety of newer compounds that appear to be getting closer to the universal rubber that we are all seeking. It has better hot water/ steam resistance than all other compounds except 3018. so this article is an attempt to put these "super compounds" into a proper perspective. They are the first shape available when a new compound is introduced. ketones. making it a lot easier for the seal faces to follow shaft run out and end play. It also exhibits low swell in organic and inorganic acids. but harder durometers are available for highpressure applications similar to those we find in pipe line sealing. The average mechanical seal uses a durometer of 75 to 80 (as measured on the shore A scale).003 inches (0. esters. and aldehydes. This compound is scheduled to be phased out of production.005 inches (0.08 mm) You can buy them anywhere. or in contact with certain hot aliphatic amines. Compound 2035. They are the most precision rubber part that you can purchase. Can be used to 500°F (260°C) in nonoxidizing environments. a Dupont product that is not a true elastomer so you will experience some compression set depending upon the compound you select. To 425°F (218°C) It is the compound recommended for Ethylene Oxide and Propylene Oxide service. Compound 1050.
It is too hard for most mechanical seal applications at temperatures below 400°F (205°C).is another product distributed by Greene Tweed & Company. It means nothing more than what it says. There are many charts available to help you pick the correct elastomer compound for your application. Tweed & Company. They forget to mention that when you spring load one of these compounds you will experience shaft fretting under the O-ring. or if no notation is made. Many of these "super compounds" are plastics and present sealing problems in some seal configurations. This shaft fretting increases the probability of seal failure. It is available in both black and white O-rings. The next chart should help you to avoid a mistake in both of these instances. If the compound does not return to 90% of its original shape in five seconds or less it is called a plastic and becomes less desirable as a dynamic seal in mechanical seal design. contributing to excessive shaft deflection. It is this elasticity that gives the compound its memory and eliminates the need for spring loading the elastomer to the seal shaft or sleeve. telephone (612) 733 5353. This does not imply that if the chemical is not listed. The special elastomers chart is unique in that it shows you where these "super compounds" should not be used. FLUORAZ . telephone (714) 875 3301. You are going to have to depend upon your experience to select individual seal designs that work well with these materials. Some distributors of these compounds recommend the use of mechanical seals with spring loaded dynamic O-rings. They do this to booster their sales of the compound. It has the best hot water/steam resistance and the best high-pressure extrusion resistance. Field experience indicates that in operation it appears t o be very similar to AFLAS. It can be used to 400°F (205°C). The following compounds are exhibited on the special elastomers chart CHEMRAZ is distributed by Greene. 31 . AFLAS is distributed through the 3M company. At other times you will tempted to standardize on a special elastomers to avoid the selection process altogether. Unfortunately your fluid may not be shown on some of these charts and the temptation is to go to one of the special elastomers for the solution. these are the chemicals that each manufacturer has designated as not suitable for a dynamic O-ring application. and dictates the use of shaft sleeves that raise the L3/D4 rating of the shaft. telephone (714) 875 3301. It can be used to 400°F (205°C) To be classified as a true elastomer you should be able to compress the O-ring and have it return to 90% of its original shape in less than five seconds after the compression force is removed. It is similar to KALREZ and can be used to 400°F (205°C).• Compound 3018. To 600°F (315°C). that the compound is suitable for your service.
shape. the O-ring it will change weight. you might want to put the test container in an oven to duplicate the seal operating conditions. 32 . The higher the fluid operating temperature the less acceptable. If there is any question about the use of one of these compounds in a given service you can test the compound by immersing the O-ring in the fluid to be tested for about ten days to two weeks. In some cases a compound was given an "n" rating when field experience proved that the published compatibility information was incorrect. or appearance. May be suitable for static service. You may want to check for experience in your plant or test the O-ring in your fluid to be sure. c = Caution. If the application is going to be at a hot temperature. If the fluid is going to attack the compound.• • • • • • • A = Aflas C = Chemraz C* = White colored Chemraz F = Fluoraz K = Kalrez® n = According to the manufacturer this compound is not suitable for either dynamic or static mechanical seal O-ring service. but probably not for a dynamic application.
In the following paragraphs I will: • • • • Address the subject of environmental controls in detail. • • Flush the stuffing box with a compatible cool clean liquid. Many seal glands have this connection available in a more convenient location than the stuffing box lantern ring connection. Here are some ways to control the temperature in the stuffing box area. The replacement fluid may be less dangerous.CHAPTER 5 THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROLS 5. You can control the pressure between dual seals. Show you how to seal each of the categories. You can keep atmosphere away from the outside of the seal because the moisture in atmosphere can cause problems with some seal applications. Flush is a misunderstood term. You can replace the fluid in the stuffing box. lower it or keep it within narrow limits. You might want to raise it to prevent a product from vaporizing or you might want to lower it to save the expense of going to a high pressure seal. Build a special seal that can compensate for the problem once it occurs. As an example you can: • • • • • Control the temperature in and around the stuffing box. 33 . Please look at the following illustrations and note the connections. If you control the seal environment you will avoid the inventory and delivery problems associated with special seals. There are occasions when you will have to raise this pressure. lower it or keep it within certain limits You can control the pressure in the stuffing box. You can raise the temperature. Show you how to seal the special operating conditions. a good lubricant or just easier to seal. Control the environment surrounding the seal to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place. Discuss some special seals It turns out there are only a few things you can do in the stuffing box area to control the environment around the mechanical seal. It describes six very different functions.1 Seal Application problems For any given seal application problem there are three generally accepted solutions: • • • Put in a standard or "off the shelf" seal and hope it works.
Be sure to go in the bottom and out the top of the jacket to prevent an air pocket Barrier or buffer fluid. This is also called an API (American 34 . The fluid is circulated between two seals (E) either by convection. In this arrangement a line is connected from the discharge side of the pump to the lantern ring connection in the stuffing box (A) or an appropriate connection in the gland. Suction recirculation. The bushing in the bottom of the stuffing box must be locked into place with a snap ring or it could move with the differential pressure. If it is at a lower pressure it is called buffer fluid.Discharge recirculation. Please look at connection (D). The fluid flows from the discharge side of the pump through the stuffing box to the back of the impeller. Quench. Jacketing fluid. a seal pumping ring. It uses the same connection (A) but on the bottom side of the stuffing box. The fluid (usually low-pressure steam) is passed between the seal and a disaster bushing that has been installed in the rear of the seal gland. This time the recirculation line is connected from the bottom of the stuffing box to the suction side of the pump or some other low pressure point in the system. The cooling or heating fluid flows through a jacket (B) that is surrounding the stuffing box. If the circulating fluid is at a higher pressure than the stuffing box it is called barrier fluid. or by a separate circulation system.
(25 to 30 liters /min. Please look at connection (C). A typical clearance over the shaft would be 0. from an outside source is injected into the stuffing box at one atmosphere above stuffing box pressure and dilutes the product you are pumping. This means no lines in or out of the stuffing box except those used to circulate the jacketing fluid. Six to eight gpm. To use the jacket properly: o Dead end the fluid you are trying to control. In the event of a major seal failure this quench connection can be used in conjunction with the gland disaster bushing to direct seal fluid leakage to point where it can be collected. Steam can be injected to lower the seal temperature in the event of a fire. • • • Use two seals with a cool liquid circulating between them. Be careful of using too much steam pressure because the steam will leak through the disaster bushing and blow through the lip seal trying to protect the bearings. A two way balanced cartridge seal would be an excellent choice. The gland has several features to provide various functions.) is typical of the amount of cool water needed to cool down heat transfer fluid to the point where it will stop "coking" and viton O-rings will be acceptable. A liquid.01 mm/mm of shaft diameter). An API (American Petroleum Institute) gland is available for most mechanical seals (connections C & D). o A close fitting. It can be used as: o A quench connection (D) to provide heating or cooling outboard of the seal or to remove any liquid or vapors that might escape between the seal faces. Use the jacketed stuffing box that came installed on the pump (connection "B") or install one if it is missing. non sparking disaster bushing to provide shaft support in the event of a bearing failure or to protect personnel 35 . o A flush connection (C) to provide clean fluid to the stuffing box. This arrangement provides cooling at the seal faces where it will often do the most good.002 inches per inch of shaft diameter (0. or it can be used to vent air out of the stuffing box in a vertical pump application. Carbon is a good choice because it is a poor conductor of heat compared to the metal pump components.Petroleum Institute) gland Flush. If your water is too hard you should substitute condensate or low pressure steam. o Install a thermal bushing in the bottom of the stuffing box. o Circulate the heating or cooling fluid through the jacket to control the temperature. These jackets are available as a replacement part for the back plate on most popular pumps or as an after market bolt on accessory.
Eliminate the pressure drop between seal faces by using two seals with a higher-pressure barrier fluid circulating between them. Be sure the close fitting bushing is positively retained in the bottom of the stuffing box. Install a cooler in the line between the pump discharge and the stuffing box. Heat tape or tracing lines can be installed around the stuffing box to provide a limited amount of temperature control. In an emergency you could lower the pressure by one of the following environmental controls: Equalize the pressure in the stuffing boxes of a double ended pump by connecting the stuffing boxes together to get even seal wear. Try to avoid positioning the recirculation line so that it aimed at the lapped seal faces or thin bellows seal plate materials. It is possible to lower stuffing box pressure by the use of environmental controls. 5. Elastomers positioned close to the lapped faces or the use of two hard faces should also be avoided for the same reason. The bushing will direct most of the leakage to a drain or tank where it can be collected.• • • in the event of a massive seal failure. It is possible to lower stuffing box pressure by installing a close fitting bushing in the bottom of the stuffing box and recirculate to the suction side of the pump. Many fluids contain solids that will abrade these parts. Keep in mind that this system only works while the pump is operating so it would be of no value if the application problem occurs during pump shut down or when the pump is used in a "standby mode". Flush the stuffing box with a higher-pressure liquid. This is the best solution if the fluid contains solid particles that could interfere with the seal movement. This is very important in the sealing of chemicals such as ethylene oxide that will penetrate into the dynamic elastomer. A snap ring is generally good enough to hold the bushing against the bottom of the suffing box. This is a common application for a double ended centrifugal pump.2 Controlling the pressure in the stuffing box area • • • • • • Increase stuffing box pressure by installing a recirculation line from the pump discharge back to the stuffing box (connection A) with a close fitting bushing in the bottom of the stuffing box. The only reason you would want to lower stuffing box pressure is because your seal does not have high pressure sealing capability. but a high-pressure seal would be a much better choice. Use only balanced seals in these applications to avoid the heat problems associated with unbalanced seal designs. expand and blow out the other side causing severe damage to the elastomer and unwanted leakage. Be sure to "lock in" the position of this bushing with either a snap ring or some other retaining device to prevent it from moving towards the seal. 36 . If you are using balanced mechanical seals designed with the springs out of the fluid you will need only a small amount of flushing. Be careful of using this control on a vertical turbine pump because the high velocity liquid recirculating to the suction can heat up the line to the point where it can become "red hot".
Be sure the inner seal is balanced in both directions." Balancing a seal in two directions is sometimes called "two way balance".• Lower the sealing pressure differential on the inside seal of a dual seal application by utilizing an intermediate fluid pressure between two tandem seals. 37 .
Seal failure could be analysed under following considerations• • • • • • • Weather there is any evidence of corrosion. This problem is usually due to inferior carbon/ graphite material. set screws and drive lugs. Loose parts.D.CHAPTER 6 Troubleshooting mechanical seals 6. or critical speed of the rotating part. of the carbon. usually with small cracks visible in the center. Is there any evidence of rubbing or wear on those components that should not be in contact. Heating causes air bubles to explode out from the material and form pits. 38 . Prior to pitting polished patches will be visible. Damage to seal components due to overheating and wrong use of a cleaner. Evidence of missing parts such as Springs. Liquid vapors causing the faces to rapidly open and close due to cooling of face. • Exploded carbon. How is the wear patterns on the rubbing parts. Water hammer. Product on the rotating component. 6. The pump is cavitating. Change in colour of metal components. Indicate vibration. Pits in the carbon face.1 Reasons Of Seals failure • • Dirt or solids penetrate the opened face. 6.1 THE CARBON FACE Chipping on the O.2. Recirculation line is directed at the carbon seal face.2 Inspection of the individual components. • • • • • • This can be due to harmonic vibration. Poor handling is a common cause.
solid particles in the fluid can be centrifuged into the rotating carbon face. This is a common problem at pump start up. This can occur if the seal leaked at some time and the product solidified on the outboard side of the seal. • • • • • • The product is solidifying between the faces. You are trying to seal an oxidizing agent. The carbon combines with the oxygen to form either carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide. and pull out small pieces of the carbon as the faces rotate.• • If the liquid being pumped solidifies between the faces it will erode out pieces of the carbon at start up. If the stationary face is manufactured from carbon it can be chipped if it comes into contact with the rotating shaft. You will see evidence of these small pits if you inspect the carbon face under a magnifying glass. type gland. or if the pump is operating off of its B. Most petroleum products will "coke" because of the higher face temperature. A cryogenic fluid is freezing a lubricant that was put on the face.P. This is a common occurrence with ammonia compressor seals because petroleum oil is mixed with the ammonia and it can coke at the elevated temperature.T. The shaft is hitting the stationary face or the rotating seal face is hitting a stationary object. This problem is common with intermittent pumps each time they start up. It can also occur if liquid. Chemical attack of the carbon. as is the case with non metallic seals. Switch to an unfilled carbon such as Pure grade 658 RC or C. Oxidizers attack all forms of carbon including the unfilled type. or a foreign object of some type from outside of the pump are getting under the gland and are being thrown into the seal faces. of the carbon • • • Solids. Excessive vibration can bang the carbon against a metal drive lug.P. containing solids. Mishandling. • A solid product was blown across the seal face. This happens in boiler feed water applications.I. is used in the quench connection of an A. If the seal was installed outside of the stuffing box. • • • You are using the wrong carbon. Phonograph finish on the carbon face. Something in the product or the flush is attacking the carbon filler.I.(HERE) Chips at the I. 39 . Some forms of de ionized water will pit and corrode carbon faces Cracked or damaged carbon face. The elastomer is swelling up under a carbon or hard face. Carbons are strong in compression but weak in tension or shear. grade CNFJ.D.E.
• • Poor packaging. The system protective oxide is depositing at the faces. Shiny spots. This can cause an over compression and heating of the seal faces The impeller is being adjusted towards the back plate. A coating is forming on the carbon face: • • • • • A change in temperature. Selective leaching is picking up an element from the system and depositing it on the seal face. This is problem with seals installed in Duriron pumps or any other pump that adjusts the open impeller against the back plate. Evidence of excessive heat is usually present. Product is solidifying between the faces and pulling out pieces of the carbon as the seal revolves. Any installation problem: The inner face of a "back to back" double seal application is not positively locked in position. Contrary to popular belief the presence of air or oxygen is not necessary. Ice is forming on the outboard side of the seal and preventing the seal from moving to compensate for face wear. Coking • • This is a problem with all oils. The shaft is moving in an axial direction because of thrust. The product is taking a pressure drop across the seal faces and solidifying. A snap ring must be installed to prevent the inboard stationary face from moving towards the rotating face when 40 . The stuffing box is running under a vacuum because the impeller was adjusted backwards and the impeller "pump out vanes" are causing the vacuum. Many products solidify at temperature extremes. and petroleum products in particular. • • The carbon is not dense enough. Coking is caused by the combination of high temperature and time. Cobalt base tungsten carbide is a typical example. It shows up as a cracking of the hard face. In hot water systems we experience this problem with magnetite (Fe3O4) until the system stabilizes. • • • • • Heat checking of the hard face. Excessive carbon wear in a short period of time. causing the expanding gases trapped beneath the surface of the carbon to explode through the face. This is a problem with coated or plated hard faces. cracks and raised portions of carbon. The lapped seal faces should be able to survive a 39" (one meter) drop.
vibration or carbon wear. The movable face is sluggish. Poor packaging. o The sleeve finish is too rough. o The product has changed from a liquid to a solid. The shaft/ sleeve is over sized causing an excessive interference between the elastomer and the shaft/ sleeve. o Some one put the wrong compression on the faces. The shaft is bending because the pump is running off of its B. The seal was installed at the wrong dimension. 41 .E. The stationary face is not perpendicular to the shaft.• • • • • • • • the high pressure barrier fluid pressure is lost or overcome by system pressure. Non lubricants will cause rapid face wear. Check with your manufacturer. o The elastomer (rubber part) is spring loaded to the shaft causing the faces to open as the shaft moves due to end play. Solids have penetrated between the faces. not flat. Friction. The carbon is not flat. The faces are not flat. A cartridge double seal was installed by pushing on the gland.. The faces have opened. When the carbon was lapped the lapping plate was too hot and as a result. The seal was shipped out of flat. The carbon was lapped at room temperature and the seal is running at cryogenic temperatures. • • • • • • • • Mishandling. o The seal was set screwed to a hard shaft. Some companies lap a concave pattern as standard.P. The hard face has been installed backwards and you are running on a non lapped surface. Solids are imbedded in the carbon. A non lubricant is any fluid with a film thickness less than one micron at its load and operating temperature. o Shaft fretting is hanging up the face. The metal/ carbon composite has not been stress relieved and it is distorting the carbon. The product is vaporizing between the faces because of either high temperature or low stuffing box pressure . The carbon has a concave or convex wear pattern • • • • High pressure distortion. A vertical pump was not vented. between the shaft and the sleeve O-Ring is compressing the inner seal. o The face has been distorted for some reason allowing solid particles to enter. o Dirt or solids are interfering with the seal movement.
A cryogenic fluid is freezing a lubricant that was put on the face.excessive wear. • • The base material not compatible with the sealed product.o o o o The sliding elastomer has swollen up causing too much interference on the shaft/ sleeve. The single spring was wound in the wrong direction. • Some ceramics and silicone carbides are attacked by caustic. Check to see if your seal face contains silica. 6. Solids imbedded in the carbon are causing the problem. of the hard face. Deep grooves&emdash. The shaft is hitting the stationary face or the rotating seal face is hitting a stationary object. Hard coating coming off of the face. An out of balance rotating assembly or bent shaft is causing the rotating face to "run off" of the stationary face. Heat check (a common problem with coated or plated faces) • Caused by a high heat differential across the face. Chemical attack. Keep in mind the gland bolts are not always concentric with the shaft. Excessive vibration will cause cracking at the drive lug location. This problem can also occur if the seal design allows a spring to contact the I. Analysis of the wear track on the hard face. Poor centering is causing the rotating face to run off the stationary face. Mishandling. These coating are very porous so if the product attacks the base material the coating will come off in sheets. As an example: both reaction bonded silicone carbide and 85% ceramic have this high silica content. Cracked or broken. Most hard coating have only one third the expansion rate of the stainless steel base material. Most hard faces have poor tensile or shear strength..2.D.2 THE HARD FACE. 42 . The elastomer is swelling up under an outside seal face. • • • • • • • The product is solidifying between the faces. Poor packaging. The solids were trapped between the faces when the seal faces opened. The plating process was not applied correctly.
The sliding elastomer has swollen up due to chemical attack of the product or a cleaner that was flushed through the lines. Unbalanced impeller. Temperature growth is distorting the stuffing box. Poor bearing fit. The wrong choice of rubber lubricant. Pipe strain. • • • • The soft face (carbon) was distorted by pressure. Not enough spring compression on the faces. 43 . The wear track is not in the center of the hard face. The wear track is narrower than the carbon. The face has been distorted by either excessive temperature or pressure. The single spring was wound in the wrong direction. In a stationary seal. or it was damaged during shipment. The hard face is distorted: • • High pressure.. • • • • • • The shaft is bending because the pump is running off of its best efficiency point. Excessive temperature. The shaft/ sleeve finish is too rough The product has solidified in the seal components. Sleeve not concentric with the shaft. Uneven face wear. • • • • • • Worn bearings. can also cause the problem Poor centering is causing the rotating face to run off of the stationary face. at installation.. The hard face clamping forces are not "equal and opposite". The shaft/ sleeve is over sized causing the dynamic elastomer or bellows vibration damper to hang up.. The stationary face is not centered to the shaft. Fretting of the shaft/ sleeve is hanging up the face. Dirt or solids are interfering with seal movement.• • • • • • • • • • • • The seal was set screwed to a hard shaft. The wear track is wider than the carbon. The hard face was over tightened against an uneven surface. the stationary carbon is often not centered to the shaft. causing a wiping action. Bent shaft. Seal not concentric with the sleeve. Non Concentric pattern. The elastomer is spring loaded to the shaft preventing it from flexing as the shaft vibrates. The face never was flat. Misalignment between the pump[ and its driver.
The shelf life was exceeded. • • • Mishandling. Some products solidify when two or more chemicals are mixed together. 44 . The O-ring has changed shape.3 THE ELASTOMER. hardening or cracking. A change in pressure. Chemical attack normally causes swelling. Shrinking. The clamping forces are not equal and opposite. You are using a two bolt gland and the gland is too thin causing it to distort.• • • • • Over tightening of the stationary face against the stuffing box. Dilatants will solidify with agitation. Chemraz. It was shipped out of flat. 6.2. The product is sticking to the seal face. Compression set. The hard face is not flat. Oxidizing liquids can attack the carbon that is used to color most elastomers black. Torn nibbled. • • • • Mishandling. or a similar material where a certain amount of compression set is normal. The hard face is not wide enough. The product is changing state and becoming a solid. • … High heat is almost always the cause unless you are dealing with Kalrez. but in rare cases can harden an elastomer. Cryogenics will freeze just about any elastomer. The hard face has been installed backwards and you are running on a non lapped surface. Forced out of the O-Ring groove by high pressure. Poor packaging. Sliding over a rough surface. This is a big problem with "Buna N" that has a shelf life of only twelve months. or extruded. As an example: cream becomes butter. • • • • • High heat. Most products solidify for the following reasons: • • • • A change in temperature. You are using a pump seal in a motion seal application.
2. Pitting corrosion. The metal has a "sponge like" appearance. (412-825 C. The seal faces stuck together and the shaft spun inside the bellows. tensile stress. Almost always caused by: • • • • • Chemical attack. This is the easiest to see and predict. or oxygen in stagnant areas causing an electric current to flow. A common problem with welded pieces. The elastomer is not compatible with something in the fluid you are sealing. Found in other than stagnant areas. The shelf life was exceeded. Extremely localized. set screws. Occurs in stainless steel at 800-1600 F. The pump discharge recirculation line was aimed at the rubber bellows. Common around gaskets. Chlorides are a common cause. • • • • • General or overall. unless it has been stress relieved. changing color. Stabilizers such as columbium are added to the stainless steel to prevent this. Chloride stress corrosion is a serious problem with the 300 series of stainless steels used in industry. • • • • The bellows did not vulcanize to the shaft because you used the wrong lubricant. weight or size. and heat are necessary. Caused by a difference in concentration of ions. Swelling. Solvents or cleaners used in the system may not be compatible with the elastomer. Forms at the grain boundaries. Be careful of the lubricant used to install the elastomer. Corrosion. Halogenated fluids can penetrate the Teflon coating on an elastomer and cause the base material to swell up. A combination of chloride. and small crevices. Concentrated cell or crevice corrosion. Some compounds are sensitive to steam. This is a problem with Ethylene Oxide. Torn rubber bellows. splitting the Teflon jacket. threads. Most Vitons are a good example of this problem. Threshold values are not known. This is the reason you should never use stainless steel springs or stainless metal bellows in mechanical seals. 45 .• • The liquid has penetrated the elastomer.). It always increases with temperature. Rapid cooling of the welds. the use of 316L and stress relieving after the welding are the common solutions. Inter granular corrosion. 6. Solids entrained in the high velocity liquid are abrading the bellows. Stress corrosion cracking.4 THE METAL CASE OR BODY OF THE SEAL. Can be recognized by pits and holes in the metal. vaporizing inside and blowing out pieces.
46 . The impeller never was balanced. that will attack the carbon in active stainless steel. Solids in the liquid and high velocity increase the problem. Occurs with dissimilar materials in contact with and connected by an electrical current. and is hitting the stuffing box I. Rubbing--All around the metal body. Excessively worn or damaged by corrosion or solids in the product. and salt water applications. Common with demineralized or de ionized water applications. and not re balanced. and suction recirculation are special cases often called cavitation. Erosion / Corrosion. caustic. • • • • • • • Bent shaft.• • • • Galvanic corrosion. The impeller was trimmed.1000 1100 . An accelerated attack caused by a combination of corrosion and mechanical wear.D.540 600 -650 > 650 NOTE: To tell the difference between discoloration caused high heat and product attaching to the metal part. Selective leaching. An unbalanced impeller or rotating assembly.. The product has attached its self to the impeller.1200 > 1200 COLOR OF THE METAL Straw Yellow Brown Blue Black CENTIGRADE 370 .On the metal body.425 480 . Discoloration. Pipe strain. The seal is not concentric with the shaft. Stainless steel changes color at various temperatures. Misalignment between the pump and its driver. try to erase the color with a common pencil eraser. Discoloration will not erase off. The pump discharge recirculation line is aimed at the seal body. Caused by high heat. A bolted on stuffing box has slipped. Micro organisms. Vaporization. Common in brine. Partial rubbing -. vane passing syndrome. liquid turbulence. • • • • • • A gasket or fitting is protruding into the stuffing box and rubbing against the seal. The shaft is bending due to the pump operating off of its best efficiency point.800 900 . FAHRENHEIT 700 . Involves the removal of one or more elements from an alloy.
Air or oxygen is getting into the system. Through the stuffing box. A cryogenic fluid is sticking the faces together. Broken. SLOTS. They do not provide corrosion resistance. The system protective oxide coating is depositing on the sliding metal components. The following applications cause a vacuum to be present in the pump stuffing box. The liquid is vortexing in the suction line. Wear on one side of the drive lug or slot. Heater drain pumps. The stationary is not perpendicular to the shaft. • • • • Chemical attack. Excessive side load. DRIVE LUGS. Pumps that prime other pumps. A non O-Ring elastomer is being used in the seal allowing air to enter the stuffing box when you are sealing a vacuum application. 47 . The base material is being attacked by the product. The pump suction is not completely submerged. Pumping from the hot well of a condenser. • Corrosion. The seal faces are glued together because the product has solidified. Pumping from an evaporator. The bypass return is too close to the pump suction. The Teflon coating is coming off some of the metal parts. • Coatings are very porous.Product sticking to the metal surfaces. • • • Vibration. PINS. • • • • • • Pumps that lift liquid. The product pressure has dropped. • • • • • • • • • • • Heat is the main cause. The drive pins are falling out of the holder. The open impeller was adjusted in the wrong direction and the impeller pump out vanes are causing the vacuum. etc. Valves above the water line. The product was not deaerated. Slipstick.
Dirt or solids in the fluid can clog exposed springs. Chloride stress corrosion problems with 300 series stainless steel. • • The stationary face is not perpendicular to the shaft causing excessive spring flexing in the metal "plastic range". causing excessive spring movement. • Stressed material corrodes much faster than unstressed material. 48 . was not vulcanized to the shaft.2. Broken Metal Bellows. This is a problem with many seal designs.5 THE SPRINGS. If the springs are located outside the liquid. it happened after the failure. Clogged. Excessive vibration. Broken or cracked. 6. Corroded. The stationary is not perpendicular to the shaft. • • • Excessive vibration. Check to see if your seals can come apart easily or if the drive lugs can change position when the seal is not compressed. Bad part. Faces sticking together as the product solidifies. If the product solidifies or crystallizes it can clog springs exposed to the pumped fluid. Excessive wear from solids in the stuffing box. Chloride stress corrosion with 300 series stainless steel. rubber bellows seal. The discharge recirculation line is aimed at the thin bellows plates. • • • Be sure to distinguish between "cause and effect". The drive lugs or slots are worn on both sides. • Almost always an assembly problem. Twisted. The springs are always under severe stress. The lugs were not engaged in the slots. o Slipstick.• • • Improper fit. The spring material has "work hardened" and fatigued. • • • • • Fatigue caused by over flexing in the plastic range of the metal o Harmonic vibration. The single spring.
See above description under metal corrosion 6. Misalignment between the pump and its driver High temperature applications require a "center line: pump design. • • • • • Fretting. OR SHAFT. The shaft is bending. 6.D. Concentrated cell corrosion. The set screws slipped on a hardened shaft or were not tightened properly. Alan wrenches wear rapidly. • • • • • • • • • • The pump is running off of its best efficiency point. o Sleeve too soft. Rubbing at the I.Because these seals do not have a dynamic elastomer to provide vibration damping some other means must be provided or vibration will always be a problem.8 THE GLAND. 49 .2. Rounded Allen Head.6 THE SLEEVE. They are not biting in.2. Corroded. or the seal with the sleeve. They are an expendable tool. • Partial rubbing. Check to see if you are using hardened set screws. • • • • Stripped from over tightening. Loose. They are vibrating loose. Salt water applications are particularly troublesome when a static elastomer or clamp is attached to the shaft. Corrosion. Grooves or pits at the seal dynamic elastomer location. Pitting caused by the chlorides and the low PH of salt water are the main problems. Unbalanced impeller or rotating assembly. Excessive temperature. Rubbing at the wear ring location.2. Bent shaft. Sleeve is not concentric with the shaft. The seal faces stuck together causing the shaft to rotate inside the static elastomer. 6. Pipe strain.7 THE SET SCREWS. This type is normally supplied with most cartridge seals and can corrode easily. o Sleeve too hard. Bad bearings. The rubber bellows did not vulcanize to the shaft/ sleeve.
Rubbing all around. The shaft is bending. Rubbing all around. • Dirt and solids are present in the discharge or suction recirculating fluid. 6. • If there is evidence of rubbing the corrosion will be accelerated. Bent shaft. or caught between the shaft. The shaft is bending. Bad bearings. o Flushing connection clogged. Improper installation. 50 .P. Cavitation. o Quench connection clogged. Pipe strain. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Partial rubbing. The gland bolt holes are often not concentric with the shaft/ sleeve. gland has slipped. Bad bearings. • A. Cavitation Erosion. Misalignment between the pump and its driver.2. and the gland. Bent shaft. D.I. Unbalanced impeller or rotating assembly. Improper installation. Solids attached to the shaft.• • • • • • • • • • • • The gland has slipped.P. Unbalanced impeller. It was not centered to the shaft. o Hooked up wrong.I Gland. The shaft is not concentric with the sleeve. The shaft is not concentric with the sleeve.9 BUSHINGS Rubbing at the I. Corrosion. It was not centered to the shaft. Passages clogged or not connected properly. Excessive pipe strain. The A. The seal is not concentric with the sleeve. The seal is not concentric with the sleeve.
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