Omniseal® Spring-Energized Seal Prevents Blowout in Rocket Engine Valves
Omniseal Solutions™ Omniseal® spring-energized anti-blowout (ABO) seal is qualified as a static seal in rocket engine check valves for the space industry. Check valves are flow control devices that allow the flow of pressurized fluid (liquid or gas) in one direction only. In normal operations, check valves are in shut-off position where sealing is secured by static seals that are designed to withstand any blowout. Once the fluid pressure reaches or exceeds the rated threshold pressure, the valve opens and allows the fluid to transfer from a high pressure to low pressure side. Decrease in pressure to a level below the threshold pressure causes the valve to go back to its shut-off position. Check valves are also common in the oil and gas industry as well as in applications for pumps, chemical processing and fluid transfer.
In most cases, design engineers integrate check valves into their rocket engine designs. The role of seals in these valves is thus very critical in overall launch missions. Anti-blowout seals are used in check valves to retain pressurized fluid on the high pressure side while preventing blowout of the seal from the housing. Under high pressure as well as rapid change of pressure across the seal surface, retaining the seal in its housing is very challenging. Once the dynamic sealing surface of the hardware disengages from the sealing lip, there is a tendency of the seal to be blown away from the housing due to residual pressure around the seal. Normally seat seals, simple blocks of PTFE, are used in check valves but their performance is not consistent and over time, the seat seals experience permanent deformation resulting in leakage.
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