Mechanical seals serve an important purpose—to seal fluid within a vessel where a rotating shaft passes through a housing. The engineering that goes into mechanical seal design can be complex. Since mechanical seals must be able to endure a wide range of application conditions, they must be designed with meticulous attention to detail. One of the boundary conditions some mechanical seals face is a lack of lubrication in the contacting interface between the sealing faces. Some application conditions have limited or intermittent lubrication available while others may have no lubrication whatsoever.
In these instances, seal face material selection is critical. Over many decades,carbon/graphite material grades have been developed to withstand some of the harshest dry running conditions, including high speeds and high temperatures. This article delves into some of the science behind the development of these carbon/graphite grades and the considerations that must be taken into account when selecting seal face materials for dry running applications.
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