James Walker tests EAL compatibility

EAL compatibility was tested using a fully computerised, multi-head test rig with continual data logging EAL compatibility was tested using a fully computerised, multi-head test rig with continual data logging

Seal specialist James Walker has developed a new sealing material, Bi-O-Lion, after investigating the compatibility of environmentally acceptable lubricants (EAL) with a variety of existing materials.

The research programme has involved half a million hours of testing to date. Materials were subjected to both static and dynamic testing regimes with nearly 40 of the most commonly used EALs. Each individual test was for a minimum of 1,000 hours.

Andras Kaldos, product engineering group manager, reported: “Very early in the programme our investigations highlighted that seal materials used for dynamic applications such as propulsion shafts needed to be validated as actual products rather than simple material samples due to the fact that a number of factors can influence the performance of the seals that cannot necessarily be identified by immersion testing alone.”

The company also identified that the condition of the lubricant is an important factor in influencing seal material compatibility, in particular contamination caused by water. This reinforces the importance of testing seals on water-oil interfaces and was reflected in the immersion testing regime, which featured both pure lubricants and mixtures with water.

“The number of EALs on the market continues to grow so our compatibility testing programme will continue and our results will be published regularly on the James Walker website,” said Kaldos.

The results of the first tests showing the compatibility of EALs with Bi-O-Lion can be viewed here.

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