Delivering Fluid Sealing Solutions Since 1972

Common Gas & Oil Seal Failure Causes

Why is Gas & Oil Seal Failure Quite Common?

Only a number of engineering elements are expected to operate under more difficult conditions than those of Gas & Oil Installations. The environments included in Gas & Oil production consist of severe stresses, temperatures, and chemical media. Additionally, they place rigid requirements on equipment, which must be accurately designed to guarantee reliable practicality and long-term execution.

Due to the instinctively corrosive nature of Gas & Oil installations, sealing elements are at a higher risk of collapse. In Pharmaceutical and Food installations, for instance, sealing elements might have a somewhat stable life expectancy due to the conformity and level of control the engineer has over the operation. Manufacture media in Gas & Oil can present a larger level of instability, influencing the demanded material features of the elastomer.

What are the features of a Gas & Oil seal?

All seal installations have characteristics and features that must adhere to in order to guarantee an element is adequate for an application. With the increased cruciality of Gas and Oil elastomers, there is a demand for them to present authentic reluctance to the following difficulties:

  • Stress and temperature extremes
  • Aggressive chemicals
  • Sour Gas (H2S)
  • Explosive decompression

Why do Oil Seals collapse?

In the majority of instances, elastomers of this sort collapse due to trouble associating to maintenance and operation. Nevertheless, all too frequent seal collapses can be an immediate outcome of poor preparing, material choice or incorrect assembly.


Viewed beside other Gas & Oil machinery, O rings and other sealing elements are somewhat small in size. Occasionally, this physical difference can guide several designers to see the simple O ring as something of a second thought. Likewise, the preference of materials and machinery in the structure or recondition operation is frequently grounded on lead time and cost. These general foundations can treat the supply of an optimized sealing solution as an insignificant ‘final’ component.

The preference of materials and elements should be grounded on their importance – namely, what are the outcomes of that component collapsing? Therefore, this more deliberated approach places O rings and other sealing elements as a key priority in any Gas & Oil engineering project.


The adequate O ring choice is necessary for the effective execution of any installation, and especially so in the corrosive environments of Gas & Oil manufacturing. There are numerous general technical motives for O ring collapse, the hazard of which can be alleviated by the proper material and seal profile choice. These collapse modes include:

  • Spiral Failure
  • Compression Set
  • Outgassing
  • Chemical Attack
  • Thermal Degradation
  • Chemical Swell
  • Extrusion & Nibbling
  • Explosive Decompression

Gas & Oil Seal Failure Causes Gas & Oil Seal Failure Causes Gas & Oil Seal Failure Causes Gas & Oil Seal Failure Causes

For more information on seal failure modes, see our Seal Failure Guide.


If a sealing element has been inaccurately fixed, the chance of prospect collapse considerably increased. The littlest of gashes from an installation equipment can worsen very rapidly in intensive operating circumstances, especially if linked with neglectful maintenance. Therefore, taking the time to deliver efficient education on seal assembly can result in significant decreases in machinery downtime through seal collapse.

Seal Selection for Gas and Oil

When choosing a seal for a Gas and Oil installation, several key parts to regard are:

  • Hardware design
  • Sizing
  • Manufacturing capabilities
  • Material

We provide sealing solutions for a selection of crucial Gas & Oil Installations. With a certified scope of oilfield rubbers, tailored element design service and a scope of expert producing abilities, including FEA Simulation and sealing consultancy, there are measures that can be taken to protect against an uncertain Gas and Oil elastomer.

M Barnwell Services are the UK’s largest independent stockist, manufacturer, and also a distributor of fluid sealing solutions. For more information about our range, download our catalogue or contact a member of the team.

E & OE. Data provided by manufacturing supply partners.