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You might have come across the term compression set in the rubber sealing industry. But what does it mean and, how does it apply to O-rings? What could be the common causes for an O-ring compression set? We cover all of that and some more in this informative blog.

Let us begin with the basics and define a compression set. After release, when an elastomeric material does not come back to its original size from a constant compressive load, the total amount of the material that continues to remain compressed is commonly termed a compression set.

So, to be effective, O-rings need a continuous, complete seal that can be formed between sealed surfaces. The reason being, the compression set only creates flat surfaces on the cross-section of the O-ring, thereby minimizing the joint’s sealing potential significantly.

 Let us now understand the common causes of the O-Ring compression set.

 Common Causes of O-Ring Compression Set

The compression set is one of the primary reasons for O-ring failure for both dynamic and static seals. It is mainly a factor of time and temperature. However, various elements can contribute to O-ring failure. Listed below are some of the frequent reasons why the O-ring compression set occurs:

  • Choosing an elastomer with mediocre or poor compression set properties
  • The material has low resistance to heat
  • Unrestrained swelling of o-ring material in system fluid
  • Heavy squeeze to achieve a seal
  • If the operating temperature is extremely high for the elastomer used
  • Incomplete vulcanization of the elastomer during production

What are the Suggested Solutions?

An excellent way to avoid an O-ring compression set can be choosing the right materials and ensuring compatibility between parts. Listed below are some ideal solutions to correct or completely avoid O-ring compression set failure.

 If possible, minimize O-ring squeeze

  • Choose a low set elastomer
  • Inspect O-rings and look for good physical properties
  • Choose an O-ring that can resist friction and operate generated heat
  • Make it a point to re-check O-ring material compatibility with system chemicals
  • Choose a material that has high-temperature resistance 

Final Thoughts!

We hope you have gained valuable insights from this blog. Ensuring O-ring compatibility is vital to avoid compression set failure. So, before you install an O-ring, ensure that it is proper in size, is made with good material, and provides chemical compatibility for your applications.

If you are searching for high-quality O-Rings or are interested to know more about the O-ring compression set, then feel free to connect with Harkesh Rubber. We can help you select and design the appropriate rubber material for your seal applications.

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