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Old 04-06-2016, 11:55   #1
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Keeping O-Rings and Rubber Seals for looong periods

I recently needed some orings and rubbers for repairing a water maker, the head and some sinks. The spares where from the previous owner who had them as well for some time.

About 80% of them fell apart or broke when I touched them.

Is there some trick to storing orings and rubbers to keep them like new for LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG storage periods?

Thanks
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Old 04-06-2016, 11:58   #2
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Re: Keeping O-Rings and Rubber Seals for looong periods

No light... no air (Nitrogen or Argon filled SEALED container)

But they still degrade from age. Really you only gain a couple of years.
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Old 04-06-2016, 12:04   #3
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Re: Keeping O-Rings and Rubber Seals for looong periods

Heat and UV and oil break down rubber quickly. Silicone is a little better. Keeping them cool, in the dark and in an air tight container will help. But the truth is, rubber and silicone degrades and there really isnt any way to keep them for a loooooong time.
Who knows though, the spares the po had on hand might be 20 years old.
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Old 04-06-2016, 12:14   #4
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Re: Keeping O-Rings and Rubber Seals for looong periods

Only my hypothesis but vacuum bagging and storing in a dark cool place would probably buy more time.
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Old 04-06-2016, 13:45   #5
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Re: Keeping O-Rings and Rubber Seals for looong periods

Aviation O rings come individually packaged in a heavy paper envelope. They look good for many years but they still have an expiration date in just 5 years or something.
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Old 04-06-2016, 14:07   #6
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Re: Keeping O-Rings and Rubber Seals for looong periods

thanks for the info. Yes from what I understand most of them where over 5yrs old and stored in a cool / dark / dry place on the boat. Some could have been 10+ years old.
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Old 04-06-2016, 15:04   #7
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Re: Keeping O-Rings and Rubber Seals for looong periods

Is there some trick to storing orings and rubbers to keep them like new for LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG storage periods?

I found they never last too long in your wallet.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

www.HaldenMarineService.com
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Old 04-06-2016, 17:32   #8
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Re: Keeping O-Rings and Rubber Seals for looong periods

I'm changing out all my o rings and oil seals for Viton. They have a shelf life several times longer than for nitrile, which is often fitted as standard. Much higher uv and general resistance to environmental contaminants also. There are other materials, which may be better depending on the application.

It looks like yet another - spoil the ship for a ha'penny o' tar - scenario.
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Old 04-06-2016, 18:25   #9
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Re: Keeping O-Rings and Rubber Seals for looong periods

BTW, you can cut and glue orings if you are stuck without the right size. Done this in commercial use up to about 7000-8000psi.
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Old 04-06-2016, 18:33   #10
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Re: Keeping O-Rings and Rubber Seals for looong periods

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
BTW, you can cut and glue orings if you are stuck without the right size. Done this in commercial use up to about 7000-8000psi.
This is good for static seals, but not dynamic ones, at lest in my experience. The glue joints seem to fail pretty quickly. None the less, it is a good thing to know about when you are far from a seal shop!

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Old 04-06-2016, 19:23   #11
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Re: Keeping O-Rings and Rubber Seals for looong periods

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This is good for static seals, but not dynamic ones, at lest in my experience. The glue joints seem to fail pretty quickly. None the less, it is a good thing to know about when you are far from a seal shop!

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I can tell this story now as it has been years. The chief mechanic for a helicopter company superglued an O ring in the turbine section main shaft of a fire fighting helicopter engine. It worked just fine. I lost track of that engine but I never heard of it failing. That said, a leaky O ring would cause smoke and you would fix it at some point.
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Old 05-06-2016, 08:18   #12
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Thumbs up Re: Keeping O-Rings and Rubber Seals for looong periods

Easy one, put them in a plastic bag and put them in your fridge or at the bottom of your freezer, spare speargun rubbers the same.
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Old 05-06-2016, 13:10   #13
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Re: Keeping O-Rings and Rubber Seals for looong periods

My ancient experience is buy Buna-N O-rings. Impervious to most everything including carbon-tet. assuming you could get it.
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Old 05-06-2016, 13:28   #14
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Re: Keeping O-Rings and Rubber Seals for looong periods

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My ancient experience is buy Buna-N O-rings. Impervious to most everything including carbon-tet. assuming you could get it.
The really good material is often a fluorocarbon these days. 21st century you know.
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Old 05-06-2016, 14:36   #15
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Re: Keeping O-Rings and Rubber Seals for looong periods

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The really good material is often a fluorocarbon these days. 21st century you know.
I said ancient. I hadn't worked in R&D in almost 50 yrs.. Buna-N held up to some nasty chemicals. Some so bad OSHA red tagged my lab.. Someone said rubber. Speak of ancient.
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