James Walker publishes results of EAL/seal material compatibility testing programme

As a leading provider of sealing solutions to the marine propulsion industry, James Walker has been investigating the compatibility of sealing materials with the growing range of environmentally acceptable lubricants in use. The company has now published its latest results and launched Bi-O-Lion® - a new high-performance sealing material developed from the testing programme and compatible with a broad range of the latest environmentally friendly lubricant (EAL) options.

The research programme has clocked up over  half a million hours of testing to date with materials being subjected to both static and dynamic testing regimes in nearly 50 of the most commonly used EALs. Each individual test is run over a minimum of 1000 hours in order to achieve a result that is relevant to operational duties.

“Very early in the programme our investigations highlighted that seal materials used for dynamic applications such as propulsion shafts needed to be validated as actual products rather than simple material samples due to the fact that a number of factors can influence the performance of the seals that cannot necessarily be identified by immersion testing alone,” comments Andras Kaldos, product engineering group manager.

“We also identified that the condition of the lubricant is an important factor in influencing seal material compatibility, in particular contamination caused by water. This not only reinforces the importance of testing seals on water/oil interfaces, but has directly affected our immersion testing regime. As a result we not only conduct immersion tests on pure lubricants, but also in lubricant and water mixes.

Seal and lubricant combinations must perform well to meet the high standards we set for long-term sealing. Our materials must not only be compatible with the lubricants in use but must also perform at a level that matches a vessel’s maintenance schedule. As a result, in creating our grading criteria for compatibility in EAL applications, the limits to the changes in mechanical properties we have set in immersion testing as well as the sealing capability assessments in our dynamic testing are very stringent in order to provide the utmost confidence in the materials we are putting forward for such applications.”

Test results relating to James Walker’s new Bi-O-Lion material are available online, whilst details of the full test programme are available by contacting the company’s marine propulsion team through Dominique Leimacher.

Over half a million hours of static immersion and dynamic testing have been carried out so far in assessing material compatibility with EALs for marine propulsion applications.

Over half a million hours of static immersion and dynamic testing have been carried out so far in assessing material compatibility with EALs for marine propulsion applications.

27 February 2017

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