Rubber O-rings are used for a variety of industries, from aircraft to food production, and you can find them inside your home’s faucets. These doughnut-shaped components are used to restrict small pathways and prevent liquid or gas from leaking out. However, they’ll eventually wear out or suffer damage. Use this guide to learn how to identify a deteriorated O-ring so that you can replace it as necessary.
How to Identify a Damaged Rubber O-Ring
1. Flattened Sides
After sitting in the same small, confined area for years, your O-ring might become misshapen. While an O-ring is normally circular, its inner and outer sides may begin to flatten, surrendering to the shape of the surrounding space. This may cause water to leak out, as the rubber no longer exerts a strong outward force.
2. Frilling or Peeling
In some cases, O-rings may experience more compression on one side than the other. This uneven distribution of force will push one side of the ring into the clearance gap.
When removed from its housing, the O-ring may appear frilled along one edge. This means that the clearance gap may need to be reduced, or you might need a larger O-ring.
If O-rings come into repeated contact with harsh chemicals, they may deteriorate faster than normal. Common signs of chemical deterioration include cracks and blisters. These problems are particularly common for O-rings used to seal chemical containers.
Machinery that requires consistent cleaning with harsh chemicals may also have cracking rings. You might need to find a stronger sealant to protect the rubber from chemical exposure.