Tribology and Materials | Volume 1 | Issue 1 | 2022 | 1-10

The sealing mechanism of radial lip seals: A numerical study of the tangential distortion of the sealing edge

Jeremias Grün, Simon Feldmeth, Frank Bauer

University of Stuttgart – Institute of Machine Components, Stuttgart, Germany


Abstract: The sealing behaviour of elastomeric radial lip seals is essentially affected by the sealing mechanism in the contact area between the sealing edge and the shaft surface. The relative motion between radial lip seal and shaft deforms the sealing edge tangentially in the circumferential direction. This mechanical deformation is considered essential for the sealing mechanism. In this study, a numerical approach is employed to simulate this deformation. A three-dimensional multiscale model serves this purpose. The radial lip seal geometry is described on the macro-scale. On the micro-scale, an artificial rough surface with a stochastic roughness distribution is applied to an ideal sealing edge surface. A new meshing algorithm is used to discretise different sealing edge surfaces and automatically generates structured hexahedral meshes of the sealing edges. Mesh transitions connect the resulting finely meshed sealing edge to the coarsely meshed global macro-scale mesh of the radial lip seal. The paper introduces the modelling method used to simulate the deformation of radial lip seals. Results are presented and discussed with reference to the sealing behaviour. This contributes to a better understanding of the sealing mechanism of radial lip seals.

Keywords: radial lip seal, finite element analysis, surface roughness, elastic deformation, elastomers.

Received: 21-01-2022, Revised: 10-03-2022, Accepted: 18-03-2022

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which allows users to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format for non-commercial purposes only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator.