PUB - Fluid Leakage in Metallic Seals


A paper on “Metallic Sealing” was published in the journal “Tribology Letters”.


Metallic seals are crucial machine elements in many important applications, e.g., in ultrahigh vacuum systems. Due to the high elastic modulus of metals, and the surface roughness which exists on all solid surfaces, if no plastic deformation would occur one expects in most cases large fluid flow channels between the contacting metallic bodies, and large fluid leakage. However, in most applications plastic deformation occurs, at least at the asperity level, which allows the surfaces to approach each other to such an extent that fluid leakage often can be neglected. In this study, we present an experimental set-up for studying the fluid leakage in metallic seals. We study the water leakage between a steel sphere and a steel body (seat) with a conical surface. The experimental results are found to be in good quantitative agreement with a (fitting-parameter-free) theoretical model. The theory predicts that the plastic deformations reduce the leak-rate by a factor ≈ 8.

RWTH Publications