The effectiveness and durability of high performance pump seals in the broad range of conditions in which they operate is often limited by the behaviour of the materials from which seal components have been designed and manufactured. Aging management of active components, such as pumps and valves, requires a better understanding of the behaviours of these materials in dynamic conditions in order to extend component life and to reduce losses associated with subcomponent failures, such as those associated with seals. Pump seal designs employ several types of materials, two of which have behaviours that are not well understood at their limits: carbon-graphite composites and wear-resistant ceramics. An ongoing research program is underway at AECL’s Chalk River Laboratories to both better understand the behaviour and assess the performance of new seal face materials, which have been developed using advanced technologies.

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