What is an O-Ring?

wheel-24518_960_720An o-ring, also known as a toric joint, is a special type of gasket that’s shaped like a loop with a round cross-section. It’s designed for use inside of a groove, where it’s compressed during assembly to achieve a secure seal. To learn more about o-rings and how they work, keep reading.

While there are many different types of o-rings, most are designed to withstand significant pressure. Some, for instance, are capable of sealing pressure up to 800 pounds per square inch (PSI), which is pretty impressive. O-rings can also act as a double seal, offering a secure connection on both ends to the respective surface to which they are attached.

You can find o-rings available in many different metric and inch sizes. The size of an o-ring typically refers to its diameter and cross-section diameter. The most common o-ring sizes in the U.S. follow the SAE AS568C specification. In the U.K., o-ring sizes uses BS sizes, ranging from BS001 to BS932. When choosing o-rings, make sure the size is appropriate for the application for which it will be used.

While some people assume that o-rings are a relatively new mechanical component, they’ve actually been around for over a century. The patent for the world’s first o-ring was filed in 1896 to inventor J.O. Lundberg. It wasn’t until 1937, however, the first patent for an o-ring was filed in the United States. It’s a little-known fact that the U.S. government took over the o-ring patent to use for various machines and equipment during World War II. The patent holder, Niels Christensen, received a lump sum payment of $75,000 for the government’s use of his patented o-ring.

So, how are o-rings used today? One of the most common uses is manufacturing. When manufacturing companies produce products that require the joining of two or more surfaces, they may use an o-ring. Thanks to its simple design that’s able to withstand substantial amounts of pressure, it’s the perfect match for such applications. O-rings can also be used in high-temperature applications, though they may need to tangibly mounted.

It’s important to note that o-rings are available in wide range of materials, some of which include butadiene rubber, butyl rubber, polyethylene, nitrile rubber, and various thermoplastics.

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