What is Oil Seal | Purpose , types of Oil Seal , Advantages

What is Oil Seal | Purpose , Types of Oil Seal , Advantages

OIL SEAL

Oil seals, also known as shaft seals, are radial lip type seals which are primarily used for retaining lubricants in equipment having rotating, reciprocating or oscillating shafts. The rotating shaft application is most common.

An oil seal normally consists of three basic components: the sealing element, the metal case and the spring. The purpose of the sealing element is to stop the fluid from leaking between the shaft and housing. The metal case will give rigidity and strength to the seal while it is being held in the bore or recessed groove. The garter spring ensures constant pressure and maintains the radial force to the shaft, flattening the sealing edge to a defined width. The garter spring maintains the radial force exerted by the sealing lip around the shaft surface. All materials must be selected depending on the environment in which the oil seal will function.

The performance of these seals depends to a large extent on a suitable unit load being maintained at the seal-shaft interface. These seals withstand a pressure of 15PSI and their working depends on parameters like shaft diameter, shaft speed, working temperature, service conditions, etc

Oil seals or shaft seals are an integral part in any rotating and moving part assembly. Oil seals find great deal of usage in gearboxes, hydraulic cylinders, etc. The usage of the seals in areas concerned with motion also earns them a name of “Dynamic Oil Seals.”

oil seals
oil seals

The purpose of the oil seals is

  • To act as a physical barrier retaining the lubricating oil where it is bound to be.
  • To prevent thelubricating oil from leaking outside even under high pressure of the oil.
  • To act as a barrier and prevent dirt, contamination and other external entities from entering the system containing the lubricating oil.

Constructional Aspects of an Oil Seal:

1. The oil seal consists of a metal ring as the inner skeleton which provides the structural stability to the oil seal.

2. The outer skin is made of nitrile rubber and various other materials which are used based on the requirement.

3. The spring on the lip of the oil seal tends to provide support to the lip and prevents the lubricant from leaking outside and also prevents the entry of contaminants from outside.


TYPES OF OIL SEAL

Double Lip Oil Seals

In this an auxiliary lip is provided along with the regular sealing lip. The additional dust lip protects the main sealing lip against dust and other fine solid contaminants and therefore this type is recommended for use in polluted environments. To achieve a long lifetime a suitable lubricant between the two sealing lips should be applied.

Advantages:
– Good static sealing
– Compensation of different thermal expansion
– Reduced risk of fretting corrosion
– Effective protection against air side contaminants
– Higher bore surface roughness is allowed
– Installation in split-housings
– Modern lip design provides low radial forces

Duplex Oil Seals

Sometimes, two different kinds of fluids leak from one chamber to another and gets mixed up. Here, this type comes as a boon. This is a metal inserted duplex type oil seal recommended on such assembly where mix-up of two different fluids is to be prevented.

Oil Seals without Spring

This type of oil seal can withstand only low speed and friction. It is recommended in places where thick fluid or grease is to be sealed. This is not recommended for difficult applications.

Material:

Oil seals are made out of nitrile synthetic rubber with steel stiffener rings. Other rubbers such as viton, silicon, neoprene or poly acrylic can be used for specific applications. The stiffener rings may be stainless steel or brass where highly corrosive fluids are to be sealed. Springs are generally made of spring steel to IS: 4454:Gr.ll or from stainless steel or bronze for corrosion resistance

Type A Oil Seals

Sealing of lip type seal is normally a result of an interference fit between the flexible sealing element, usually augmented by spring pressure and a shaft. Fluid retention is based on the precise amount of lip contact pressure. In most lip seals, increased fluid pressure in the sealed area causes lip contact pressure on the shaft to increase.

Advantages:
– Good static sealing
– Compensation of different thermal expansion
– Reduced risk of fretting corrosion
– Higher bore surface roughness is allowed
– Installation in split-housings
– Modern lip design provides low radial forces

Type B Oil seals

This is almost similar to that of ‘A’ type seal. But this has the metal case placed outside. When the housing is rough, temperature is high and working conditions are severe, this type is preferred.

Type C Oil seal

Type ‘C’ oil seal has an additional cup inserted into the outer cup of ‘B’ type. The supplementary metal inner ring provides a superior stiffness. This type is recommended for use in heavy polluted environments. As the static sealing between housing and metallic shell is limited, low viscosity media can “creep”.

Advantages:
– Very good fitting stability avoiding pop-out of the seal
– Modern lip design provides low radial forces
– Superior radial stiffness, especially for very large diameters
– Cost effective for expensive elastomer materials
– Suitable for use in combination with axial seal

Material used for Oil Seal :

Based on the application of the oil seal, the outer skin layer tends to differ. Here are some types of the materials used for the outer skin of the oil seal.

1. Nitrile rubber – The commonly used material for oil seals

2. Silicone – Used in specific applications where only light loads are applied.

3. Poly acrylate

4. Fluroelastomer also popularly known as Viton. – The high temperature resistant material used in places where temperature is more than 120 Degree Celcius.

5. PolytetraFluroEthylene (PTFE)

The oils seals require certain prerequisites to be maintained for their proper working. They are as follows:

a) The shaft on which the oil seal is to be mounted should be ground with the surface finish or surface roughness between 0.2 to 0.8 Microns. It is best for the shaft to be hardened atleast to 40 – 45 HRc in order to prevent groove formation on the shaft due to the pressure exerted by the spring.

b) The area where the oil seal is seated is to be plunge ground in order to prevent wear grooves that normally tend to wear out the lip of the oil seal at a faster rate.


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Sachin Thorat

Sachin is a B-TECH graduate in Mechanical Engineering from a reputed Engineering college. Currently, he is working in the sheet metal industry as a designer. Additionally, he has interested in Product Design, Animation, and Project design. He also likes to write articles related to the mechanical engineering field and tries to motivate other mechanical engineering students by his innovative project ideas, design, models and videos.

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