Prepare for take-off!

This year has already started with Eastern Seals’ being involved with some very interesting projects, both in the UK and around the world.

A new customer who specialises in Aerospace / Rocket Engineering contacted us, after researching information on Spring O-rings via our website.

The company designs, builds and launches rockets that serve a scientific and educational purpose. They are currently building a rocket which needs to have the capability of entering the upper atmosphere of our planet. The rocket must be capable of surviving the Earth’s layers that protect our planet by absorbing harmful radiation. It also needs to be able to withstand the decrease in temperature with increasing altitude.

After successful launches of previous rockets, the dream to go much higher into the atmosphere is becoming a reality. The current project is designed to fly up to 50 km altitude, carrying a scientific payload. Because hardly any of the required systems can be bought of-the-shelf, every single subsystem has been designed and developed in-house. This makes the Rocket Engineering company’s project their most technically challenging operation to date. It combines high power experimental propulsion, sub- and supersonic aerodynamics, advanced safety systems, telecommunication, supersonic re-entry, recovery systems and international coordination with a foreign launch site. The rocket’s engine runs on nitrous oxide as oxidizer and a mixture of sorbitol (coffee sweetener), paraffin (candle wax), and aluminium powder as fuel.

Due to the low temperatures and pressures involved in this project, Eastern Seals discussed spring O-rings in more detail, and how these specialist seals could help with such a project.

Spring o-rings are ideal for sealing at extremely low temperatures where traditional elastomers suffer from brittleness. Low compression sets allow effective sealing as low as -250C in Cryogenic applications.

Other industries including pharmaceutical, medical and chemical processing all encounter low temperature cryogenic conditions. They experience situations where it is very difficult to achieve effective liquid or gas sealing.

Even elastomers that we consider to be good at low temperatures (i.e. Silicone or Fluorosilicone) can quickly become brittle and lose their ability to provide resilience. This results in premature leakage.

Spring o-rings utilise a precision rolled flat strip spring in 301 stainless steel (AMS 5519N). These seals are specially formed to energize a seamless jacket of Fluoropolymer (FEP or PFA). This assembly provides effective sealing in face type applications as low as -250°C.

Eastern Seals’ spring O-rings are now being utilised in this exciting project, and we are eagerly waiting to find out how this project progresses.

For further information on Spring O-Rings, please visit our website, http://easternseals.co.uk/products/spring-orings/