Factors affecting the life of mechanical seals
You need to consider several factors while determining the life of a mechanical seal. Many of these factors are independent of the seal design.
A few examples are:
- Installation issues
- Incorrect operations of the pump
- An inadequate seal support system
To ensure the maximum life of the pump; it is essential to pay close attention to the selection of mechanical seals and components.
Whether it is the face of the seal, O-ring or metallurgy; each aspect is critically important.
Similarly, selection of appropriate seal also plays a significant role in the durability.
Experts say that even the best seal can also wear out fast if the installation procedure is not followed properly.
In fact, heat generation and incorrect installation are the two most common reasons for seal failure.
Restrict heat generation and get longer seal life
As described earlier, excess heat generation can cause severe damage to the seal face. Hence, should be avoided.
A soft carbon face against a hard silicon face is the most common combination. It is ideal in situations where no seal support system is in place.
Seal support system can be of multiple types:
- There is a flush line from the pump discharge
- There is a recirculation system to the pump suction
- There is a seal reservoir
- There is a pressurized barrier fluid
All these support systems have one goal. They are designed to keep the seal faces cool, clean and well-lubricated.
When the seal support system is in place, and the fluid is abrasive, then the carbon face of the seal is replaced with a Tungsten Carbide or Silicon Carbide face. It extends the seal live.
It is not a smart idea to use both faces made from hard silicon. To reduce the extensive heat generated by the hard faces; a piping plan is designed.
Avoid improper installation and have a longer seal life
Another common reason for failure is the improper installation of a mechanical seal.
It is essential to follow the instructions while doing the installation. The steps outlined by the manufacturer must be followed well.
Here are a few common mistakes that should be avoided:
- While installing the seals, make sure there is no damage the delicate O rings and seal faces.
- Fasten the screws properly.
- Tighten gland bolds
- Don’t leave an error in piping connections
This, it is possible to have long lifespan of mechanical seals if installed well.
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