Figuring out a mechanical Seal

Each day we obtain mechanical seals from mechanics that either needs us to establish the seal so we will replace it, or want us to repair it. In either case, the procedure is the same. Figuring out the pump, impeller, suction and discharge sizes is of little help. Pumps are placed in a wide number of applications. The seal has to be designed for the application more so than the pump. Pump manufactures will place a number of configurations of seals into the pumps they sell so the pump model alone is just not the answer.

To start, it’s always useful if you can get part numbers off of the seal. Major producers corresponding to John Crane, Flow Serve, and Chesterton will place part numbers on the seal that reflect the Elastomer, Seal Faces and metallurgy of the seal.

If there isn’t any part number or the part number has been worn away by the service, it’s still doable to determine a number of the components. Start with the weakest link elastomer. Deductive reasoning will get you in the fitting ballpark. First examine the rubber components. Do they look chemically attacked, melted or are they brittle or hard? If they’re still versatile and in good condition, we know at the least that the elastomer was appropriate with the service. If they don’t seem to be, we know we want a distinct elastomer anyway. Starting with Temperature, and the Application, you may slender down the suitable elastomers. If it’s over 325 F it’s likely Viton or Aflas. If it’s over 325 F and a chemical application a chemical compatibility chart will get you there.

Next, you want to consider the seal faces. In case you are not color blind, this is fairly straight forward. If the seal face is white, it’s Ceramic. A metal seal face like brass, bronze or Aluminum bronze, it will look it. If it’s Silicon carbide it will be gray and light in weight. Silicon Carbide is in the identical household as Ceramic. If it’s Grey to silver grey and heavy it’s Tungsten Carbide. If it’s Black it’s Carbon. Most seal faces are one of the above. One exception is if in case you have a sprig on coating. These are rarer than they was simply because they fail faster and in consequence, have fallen out of favor.

Each seal has a method of energizing the seal faces together. Normally, it’s a spring. There are 3 types of spring sets: a single spring, a number of springs, or a wave spring. Wave springs are the least common. But are used when minimal house is available in the pump. Single springs are the most typical, and often used in 80 % of seal applications (water service). If it shouldn’t be a spring, it will be a metal bellows. Metal Bellows are more expensive however efficient in difficult applications like boiler feed pumps.

The least critical component (because it takes a while to fail) is the metallurgy. Most seals are made of brass or bronze & 304 or 316 Stainless. Monel is utilized in seawater applications, and Hastelloy is used in high-temperature applications.

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