Research Papers: Operations, Applications and Components

Extending Replacement Intervals of Elastomeric Components by Evaluating Samples Removed From Service

[+] Author and Article Information
Jenifer T. Marchesi

Materials Science and Engineering Center,
20 North Avenue,
Burlington, MA 01803
e-mail: jenifer.marchesi@altran.com

William J. McBrine

Materials Science and Engineering Center,
20 North Avenue,
Burlington, MA 01803
e-mail: william.mcbrine@altran.com

Vincent Roy

Materials Science and Engineering Center,
20 North Avenue,
Burlington, MA 01803
e-mail: vincent.roy@altran.com

Contributed by the Pressure Vessel and Piping Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF PRESSURE VESSEL TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received September 17, 2014; final manuscript received July 1, 2015; published online August 25, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Allen C. Smith.

J. Pressure Vessel Technol 138(1), 011601 (Aug 25, 2015) (6 pages) Paper No: PVT-14-1149; doi: 10.1115/1.4030984 History: Received September 17, 2014

Elastomers play an essential role in pressure vessels as seals, hoses, gaskets, diaphragms, liners, and other critical components. Polymeric materials used for nonpressure applications such as electric power cable insulation have received more attention, with respect to the effects of aging and life management, than critical elastomeric pressure vessel components such as seals. Performance of these seals depends upon the effects of both time- and event-dependent aging. Understanding and addressing aging and degradation are fundamental to effective preventative maintenance and life cycle management programs. Proper management of elastomers is necessary for performance requirements and for cost containment. In one of the case studies presented, synthetic seals in engines were quite costly to change on the suggested OEM (original equipment manufacturer) maintenance schedule, where replacement intervals were based on assumed operating conditions applicable to other industries. When the actual service for these engines is as emergency diesel generators (EDGs, e.g., in nuclear power plants), the use is primarily in stand-by mode, and the usage is far different than that of the manufacturer's target application. In this investigation, the assessment of pressure seal performance was based on situation-specific operation and environmental parameters. This resulted in much longer replacement intervals. In another case study, alternate materials were identified that are expected to improve performance over the original material.

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Fig. 1

Flow diagram of elastomer evaluation process

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Fig. 2

Measurement parameters for stress relaxation behavior of elastomers

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Fig. 3

Stress relaxation curves for FKM seals with different installation times

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Fig. 4

FKM seal stress relaxation decay rate versus years installed

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Fig. 5

Test equipment for high temperature, pressure, and fluid flow aging experiment

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Fig. 6

Maximum tensile stress to break for different elastomers after exposure to elevated temperature, pressure, and fluid flow

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Fig. 7

Elongation to break for the elastomers in Fig. 6

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Fig. 8

Tensile strength decrease for different elastomers after exposure to elevated temperature, pressure, and fluid flow

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Fig. 9

Reference EPDM E0740 surface cracking after exposure to elevated temperature, pressure, and fluid flow

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Fig. 10

Circulating water expansion joint as installed

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Fig. 11

Expansion joint cross section. Seawater side is bottom, white markings indicate test locations.

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Fig. 12

Change in rubber breaking strength and elongation with 20 yrs exposure to seawater



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