Ask the Experts

Ask the Experts: What is causing splits and cracks in the O-ring?

When you work with high-pressure gas application, it’s common to experience explosive decompression. A way to be sure this happened is if you notice random short splits or ruptures that go deep into the O-ring cross section. You might also notice that when you first remove the O-ring, it could be covered with small blisters. Explosive decompression will typically occur when an O-ring operating under high pressure absorbs gas. After this, you may notice three things:

• System pressure drops and gas is trapped within the O-ring
• Surface of the O-ring blisters/ruptures
• Trapped gas expands

If you find yourself in this situation, you should use an O-ring with the smallest possible cross section and a rubber compound with low permeability.