Cowseal

Signs of Mechanical Seal Failure

Do you know the signs of mechanical seal failure? Identifying these signs early can help prevent costly damage and downtime.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the common indicators that your mechanical seal may be failing. By recognizing these warning signs, you can take proactive steps to address the issue before it escalates into a major problem.

pump

1. Visible Leakage

Visible leakage is one of the most obvious signs of mechanical seal failure. If fluid is leaking from the seal gland or along the pump shaft, it indicates that the seal is no longer functioning properly.

Leakage can occur due to various reasons, such as:

Worn-out Seal Faces

Over time, the seal faces can become worn, resulting in a loss of sealing ability and visible leakage.

Incorrect Seal Installation

Improper installation of the seal can lead to misalignment or damage, causing leakage.

Inadequate Lubrication

Insufficient lubrication between the seal faces can cause excessive wear and leakage.

2. Unusual Noises

Unusual noises coming from the mechanical seal area can indicate potential issues. These noises may include squealing, grinding, or chattering sounds.

Bearing Failures

Bearing failures can cause unusual noises and lead to mechanical seal failure due to excessive vibration or shaft misalignment.

Inadequate Lubrication

Insufficient lubrication can cause the seal faces to run dry, resulting in unusual noises and potential damage.

3. Excessive Vibration

Excessive vibration in the pump or seal area can be a sign of mechanical seal failure. Vibration can cause premature wear and damage to the seal components.

Improper Alignment

Incorrect alignment between the pump shaft and the seal can lead to excessive vibration and seal failure.

Shaft Deflections

Excessive shaft deflections can cause the seal faces to operate out of their design limits, resulting in vibration and seal failure.

4. Overheating

Overheating of the mechanical seal can indicate a lack of proper cooling or lubrication. Excessive heat can cause the seal faces to distort or crack, leading to failure.

Inadequate Cooling

Insufficient cooling of the seal chamber can cause the seal faces to overheat and fail prematurely.

Improper Lubrication

Lack of proper lubrication between the seal faces can generate excessive friction heat, leading to overheating and seal failure.

5. An Accumulation of Carbon Dust on the Outside of the Seal

An accumulation of carbon dust on the outside of the seal can indicate seal face wear or damage. Carbon dust is a byproduct of the wear process between the seal faces.

Abrasive Particles

Abrasive particles in the process fluid can accelerate seal face wear, resulting in the generation of carbon dust.

Improper Seal Material Selection

Using seal face materials that are not suitable for the application can lead to excessive wear and the accumulation of carbon dust.

6. Uneven Wear Track

An uneven wear track on the seal faces can indicate improper installation, misalignment, or shaft deflections. Uneven wear can cause the seal faces to lose their sealing ability and lead to failure.

Improper Installation

Incorrect installation of the seal can result in misalignment and uneven wear on the seal faces.

Shaft Deflections

Excessive shaft deflections can cause the seal faces to operate out of their design limits, resulting in uneven wear.

7. Deep Grooves on Seal Face

Deep grooves on the seal face can indicate the presence of abrasive particles or foreign material in the process fluid. These grooves can disrupt the sealing ability of the seal faces and lead to failure.

Abrasive Particles

Abrasive particles in the process fluid can cause deep grooves on the seal faces, accelerating wear and leading to failure.

Inadequate Filtration

Insufficient filtration of the process fluid can allow abrasive particles to enter the seal chamber and damage the seal faces.

8. Fractured or Cracked Seal Face

A fractured or cracked seal face can occur due to thermal shock, excessive pressure, or improper handling during installation. A damaged seal face cannot maintain a proper seal and will lead to failure.

Thermal Shock

Rapid changes in temperature can cause the seal faces to fracture or crack due to thermal shock.

Excessive Pressure

Operating the seal beyond its designed pressure limits can cause the seal faces to fracture or crack.

9. Chips, Cracks in Seal Ring

Chips or cracks in the seal ring can indicate improper handling during installation or the presence of foreign material in the process fluid. Damaged seal rings can cause leakage and lead to seal failure.

Improper Handling

Mishandling of the seal components during installation can cause chips or cracks in the seal ring.

Foreign Material

The presence of foreign material in the process fluid can cause damage to the seal ring, resulting in chips or cracks.

In conclusion

Monitoring for signs of mechanical seal failure is crucial for preventing costly downtime and repairs. By staying vigilant and addressing issues promptly, you can extend the life of your seals and keep your equipment running smoothly.

Don’t wait until it’s too late – take action today to protect your mechanical seals!

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