Tag Archives: mechanical seals

Mechanical Seals Division – FSA Annual Meeting 2017

The Mechanical Seals Division will be meeting on October 26 in Fort Worth, Texas. Discussion topics include upgrades to the Life Cycle Cost tool, including a new pump version. Updates will be given on the new KnowledgeBase and development of new content. This division is involved in activities in the STLE, BHRG, KCI Pump Summit, and the Turbomachinery Technical Conference. The FSA’s Technical Director, Henri Azibert, will lead a discussion on FSA and Hydraulic Institute joint webinars, Pump Summit presentations, Texas A&M Pump Symposium short courses, and opportunities to partner with API. Mr. Azibert will also present updates on other industry standards related to this division.

How Carbon Works in Mechanical Sealing

Mechanical face seals are a complex combination of materials and design that form a system whose prime objective is maintaining the integrity of the pumping system, keeping what is inside where it belongs and preventing contamination from the outside.

From the simplest design to the most complex, the system must operate across a multitude of conditions (and often beyond what the original design intended) in terms of speed, contact loads and environment. Every component in the system is a vital link contributing to the system’s success or failure.

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Overview of Multiple Lip Seals

Multiple lip seals are commonly used in centrifugal pumps and positive displacement pumps. There are many variations, but one version that has been particularly effective is a triple lip seal arrangement. The key feature is the third outboard lip seal element, which can be used for several functions.

Sealed media can be compartmentalized, providing the opportunity to apply any of the API piping plans based on the type of media being sealed. For instance, it can serve as an excluder or a secondary seal in a quench gland design for media that crystallizes or hardens with exposure to ambient temperature and pressure. Unlike a mechanical face seal, there are no rotating parts, and all internal components are not just replaceable, but replaceable on-site by in-house or field maintenance staff.

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FSA Introduces the KnowledgeBase Technical Reference

A key element of the mission statement for the Mechanical Seal division of the FSA states that we intend to be “…the primary source of technical information for our products and their application.” For many years, this objective was partially met through the publication and regular updating of the FSA Mechanical Seal Handbook.

For many who have relied on this FSA handbook for technical guidance on mechanical seals and support systems, changes in technology and user behaviors have caused their preferred source of reference material to shift from printed hardcopy materials to searchable online content. Therefore, we have spent the last few years converting FSA’s mechanical seal technical documentation into a format that is conducive to self-instruction by online users. This content has been developed, reviewed and vetted by representatives of the leading mechanical seals manufacturers and is considered to be representative of generally accepted best design practices for the industry.

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The Fluid Sealing Association Launches Mechanical Seals KnowledgeBase

The Fluid Sealing Association (FSA) has announced the launch of their new website feature, KnowledgeBase. The content is developed and maintained by the members of the FSA Mechanical Seals Division as a service to manufacturers and users of mechanical seals. It can be accessed at www.fsaknowledgebase.org or through the FSA’s website at www.fluidsealing.com, and currently offers over 35 files of content and videos, each covering and explaining specific topics.

Safe, reliable and cost effective operation of mechanical seals and their support systems depend not only on the product design and materials of construction but also on the proper specification, application, and maintenance of the products. The FSA has created a digital knowledge base that provides easy navigation to key information to educate and inform users on these topics.

“The FSA KnowledgeBase is intended to be a vital source of highly reliable technical information regarding mechanical seals and support systems. Anyone who has an interest in improving their seal knowledge and remaining abreast of the latest mechanical seal industry best practices is encouraged to reference this as their primary source of information,” said Jason Ferris, Chair of the Mechanical Seals Division. “As the FSA seeks to continue to enhance the value provided by this tool to the mechanical seal user community, we encourage users to provide feedback on how the FSA KnowledgeBase can be improved by submitting input through the available link on the KnowledgeBase homepage.”

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Back to Basics: Mechanical Seals

Mechanical seals touch nearly every aspect of industrialized society. Wherever a rotating shaft moves fluid, mechanical seals play a key role in sealing process fluids in, keeping contaminants out, or both.

A few basic components and principles in mechanical seal design contribute to a working seal at the interface of the rotating shaft and stationary pump/mixer/seal-chamber housing. Mechanical seals are usually end-face seals or rotating-face seals, but in some designs they can be circumferential or even a hybrid of lip-type seals.

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Analyzing Life-Cycle Costs to Select the Best Sealing Solution

Choosing the sealing solution that will be the most cost-effective option for a particular application is not as
simple as selecting the one that has the lowest one-time cost.

To assist users in choosing the best seals, the Fluid Sealing Association (FSA) created a life-cycle costs (LCC) calculation tool that enables end users to compare solutions to determine which offers the lowest cost over the life of the pump.

The FSA’s LCC calculation tool allows users to compare additional considerations, including the annual operating cost of each sealing solution. The tool calculates the traditional elements, such as spare parts and labor, plus parasitic losses that are often overlooked.

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Material Advances Improve Seal Reliability in Extreme Application Conditions

During the past 10 years, the industry has devoted extensive investment efforts to the research and development of advanced seal face materials capable of extending the application performance range and mean time between repairs (MTBR) of mechanical seals in pumps, compressors and other fluid-handling rotating equipment.

Much of this research involving universities, material development companies, laboratories and mechanical seal companies focused on diamond-like (DLC) and surface-grown diamond film coatings on conventional mechanical seal face material substrates. For today’s end users, diamond film and diamond-like film provide solutions that enhance reliability, promote safety and provide exceptionally low emission sealing of critical equipment across many difficult-to-seal fluids particular to the oil and gas industries. Diamond film combines the physical properties of diamond with the most advanced seal technologies available.

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Speed Awareness

Taking a look at the impact of variable speed drives on mechanical seals

The use of variable speed drives has become more prevalent in industry in an effort to increase the efficiency of pumping systems. The ability to adjust the rotational speed of a rotodynamic pump has been a major factor in the ability to match a pump’s hydraulic characteristics to those of the system in which it operates.


Whether the mismatch was due to the variation in required pump output or due to incorrect sizing of the pump in the first place, there is no question that the ability to easily vary the pump speed has been a major advance in the overall performance of the pumping system.


Click here to read this article on pages 41 and 42 in the September/October 2014 issue of Fluid Handling magazine.