You will then understand the frustration of taking a component off your work shelf, only to discover cracks in the O-ring. Known as ozone cracking or ‘ozonolysis’, this is an engineer’s worst fear.
As something that is used in regular applications, we don’t even realize the importance of O-rings until they start to leak. O-zone cracking, if kept unchecked, can prove to be hazardous, on the manufacturing floor as well on the field.
How Can Ozone Cracking Be Prevented On O-rings?
A vital part of survival and life on Earth, oxygen is found in the very air that we take in our lungs. Ozone is created when groups of three oxygen atoms jump and meld together.
Generally, ozone is a substance that’s good when outside of our environment. It’s however very bad (dangerous at times) when within the troposphere.
Yes, ozone concentration in the upper layer is somewhere between two and eight parts (per million) but in the troposphere concentrations above seventy five parts (per billion) can cause health issues. Even extremely tiny ozone remnants can cause ozonolysis in O-rings made of nitrile or polymer material.
The main causes of this phenomenon in general industrial application are;
- Ultraviolet light
- Electrical arcing
- Electromagnetic fields
SEALEXCEL’s Suggestions for Storing O-rings
As expert tube fittings manufacturers, we know a thing or two about O-rings and how to ensure their long life. You must;
- Keep them away from ultraviolet light, i.e. fluorescent light bulbs and direct sunlight
- Don’t store them within 6 feet of an electric motor.
- Don’t store them in a stretched state.
- The installation of nitrile O-rings on tube fittings should be carried out (on the mating part) within 24 hours of installing the component on the tube fitting.
- If O-rings must be stored in any case, make sure to use airtight bags until you need them again.
- Apply grease to protect nitrile O-rings from ozone.