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PO166: Sealing system - lubricant-compatibility
Matthias Adler, Head of Global Material Development & Simmering Engineering Oil Seal Industry, Freudenberg Sealing Technologie
The exchange and repair of wind turbine components, because of system failures, can be several TEUR. Sealing systems (e.g. O-Rings and radial shaft seals (RSS)) are a key factor when it comes to the reliability of wind turbine components, e.g. gearboxes. That’s why it is essential to understand the failure mechanism of sealing systems and how to prevent them. The mean root cause for leakage are negative interactions between seal-materials (FPM or NBR elastomer) and the lubricants. Thus, it becomes essential to understand the failure modes for leakage. In the case of dynamic seals like radial shaft seals it is important to analyze the tribological system as a whole, which includes the lubricant, RSS and the shaft. An evaluation of the interactions is possible through the usage of various static and dynamic testing methods, as well as the usage of comprehensive analysis methods. Complex physical diffusion interactions can contribute to geometrical changes of the Seal. On the other hand, the exchange of lubricant-additives can create a chemical transformation within the elastomer, which will change the mechanical properties of the elastomer and influence the sealing mechanism. An additional factor for the sealing functionality is the microstructure of the counter surface, in the case of radial shaft seals is this the shaft. These rubber-lubricant-interactions are influenced by the type of base oil (mineral, PAO or PAG) the additive package and the elastomer-material. To achieve the best sealing-system lifetime solution, seal, lubricant must be adapted to the applicable application.