The o-ring is perhaps the most ubiquitous of machine parts. The black rubber loop has fascinated every aspect of engineering and industry since its inception, and despite their simplicity, o-rings are perhaps one of the most useful innovations in mechanical engineering.
They are used in almost every industry for sealing gaps and joints, and are strong enough to withstand many extreme working conditions. O-rings are also incredibly versatile, as they can be made using a variety of materials with different useful properties. Here are five major industries that rely on o-rings, as well as a few unique use cases for them.
1. Oil and Gas
O-rings are incredibly useful in sealing connections between pipes, and are able to withstand very high pressures and temperatures. Thus, they are used almost everywhere in the petroleum industry.
Pipes that transport raw crude over distances use o-rings in the joints connecting pipe sections. These o-rings are resistant to chemicals, as they are made of a material called nitrile. Oil pumps and lifting equipment using hydraulics usually use a few o-rings, too.
Aircraft and rockets are extremely complex machines — exactly where o-rings are useful. They are used in sealing hydraulic systems that control the tires, as well as in other static or slow-moving parts of the engines.
Since aircraft operate at very high altitudes, they use o-rings that can withstand very low temperatures without becoming brittle or losing elasticity. These are usually made out of durable materials such as fluorosilicone.
Modern agriculture involves a lot of specialized tools, including tractors, mowers and lifting tools like forklifts and pumps. Many of these hydraulic and pneumatic machines use o-rings in their operations.
Irrigation and sprinkler systems also use o-rings to regulate water pressure and reduce water waste. In livestock farming, water and liquid feed pipes also use o-rings as seals.
If you operate a manufacturing or mass production business, then chances are you’ve come across an o-ring in one of your machines. They are used in many hydraulic pumps to prevent fluid from leaking, and in pneumatic equipment to maintain high pressure.
Some machines use o-rings made of special materials, enabling them to withstand high- or low-working temperatures without failure. O-rings are available for sale in different sizes, variants, and materials, depending on what your business needs them for. You can also request custom-made o-rings from Apple Rubber as you need them, have them shipped to you and eliminate any supply chain hassles.
5. Marine engineering
In the world of ocean exploration and sea vessel construction, every seal must be watertight. The reliability and simplicity of o-rings make them an industry favorite, and they are used in building engines for watercraft, sealing pipe joints, and even in underwater diving gear and breathing equipment.
For a simple circular ring of rubber, o-rings have become a staple seal in a lot of industries. Depending on your seal needs and the type of enclosure in question, there are various materials from which o-rings are made. Ensure you pick the right materials for your seals; you can ask for professional help in choosing your seal if you need more information on choosing the best seal materials.