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What Is a Face Seal?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2016
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    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Face seals are simple devices that are used to bridge the slight gap that may occur between two ends, effectively creating a connection that allows for the flow of liquid or gases without any incidence of leakage. A face seal will normally fill the small gap that is found with grooves or in the cavity of some type of flange. There are a number of different types of face seals, including O-rings, C-rings, and E-rings.

The main purpose of a face seal is to establish a solid connection between two objects, typically by filling in any slight gap or opening that may remain as the two ends are placed together. By adding the seal to the process, any minute gaps that may be present are effectively blocked or closed, a feature that will often enhance the efficiency of the machinery or equipment involved, as well as allow the device to be operated with a greater degree of safety. Since the type of seal required will vary in size and shape, there are seals created for just about any situation.

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A face seal can be used to ensure that either liquids or gases can pass through a system without any apparent leakage at joints or other areas in which sections of components are joined. By acting as a buffer to connect the two ends, the seal helps to reduce loss of whatever is being conveyed through the system. When installed correctly, the seal also makes it possible to maintain an acceptable level of pressure within the enclosed area, a benefit that can often be critical to the operation of the device.

Along with helping equipment maintain a certain level of efficiency, use of a face seal can also be seen as a safety measure. Since the seals keep whatever is being transferred through the system contained, the potential for human operators to be adversely affected by those substances is kept to a minimum. Worn seals that no longer contain the flow of certain liquids or gases will allow some degree of leakage and possibly present a safety risk to anyone working in the immediate area. For this reason, it is not unusual for regular maintenance of production machinery to include periodic inspection and replacement of gaskets, O-rings and other face seal types in an effort to not only keep the equipment operating at optimum efficiency, but also to keep the working environment relatively safe for employees.

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