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Marine propulsion | EAL regulations

Water lubrication of marine bearing


The introduction of regulations requiring vessels sailing in US waters to use Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EAL) on all applications where leakage to the environment is possible. However, EAL media degrades over time and its chemistry changes, which can have a significant impact on elastomer seal materials.

This meant that the existing NBR seals on rudders were no longer suitable, but the move to an EAL compatible polyurethane material was proving too cost prohibitive and the customer was seeking a more cost effective way to move to an EAL compatible solution.


Semi-static application

  •  Size: 960 mm x 1024 mm x 25 mm
  •  Temperature: 10°C up to 40°C
  •  Media: Seawater
  •  Pressure: 0.2 bar
Existing solution

Polyurethane seals

James Walker solution

The Walkersele NM86/80LF elastomeric radial lip seal that was offered allowed for seawater lubrication. The solution allowed for EALs to be removed completely from the application which as result removed the associated higher cost of compatible materials and the EAL lubricants themselves.

The low friction material was put in place and trialled successfully, surpassing all expectations on sealing performance. This product also fitted the existing housing with no modifications necessary, offering the additional benefit of a reduced downtime solution.

As it allowed the bearing to be lubricated by seawater, this solution provided the ultimate in environmentally friendly operation.

Results and benefits

Our NM86/80LF material helped the customer avoid expensive lubricant costs, as the material meant that they could use seawater to lubricate the bearings. As such, any leakage would not be harmful to the environment.

Eliminated lubricant costs completely
Zero leakage meets environmental policies
Housing required no adjustments
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Specially formulated fluoroelastomer compatible with Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants in marine propulsion duties.

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