Why O-Rings Fail

Several O-Ring failure modes for O-Rings and their causes

author: Dipl.-Ing. Bernhard Richter, O-Ring Prüflabor Richter (www.o-ring-prueflabor.de)

O-Rings are sealing elements that can be used in demanding seal applications over a broad pressure and temperature range. They are easy to assemble, economical, and readily available. Seal gland design, material selection, and specification of relevant characteristics require as least some attention to prevent later application problems for the user. From experience often is the case that little experience exists for application design and sourcing/procurement of o-rings. In other words, „getting smart“ often occurs after the damage has been done. The purpose of this presentation is address this problem and describe some typical O-Ring failure modes and the root causes behind them. The presentation will compare specific failures and provide detailed failure analysis along with steps toward prevention.

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