Seals are widely used in hydraulic power systems to prevent fluid leakages. However, several types of degradation can decrease the performance of these components such as wear, which induces changes in the geometry of the cross-section area, influencing their sealing capability. Over the years, their behaviour has been primarily investigated with several theoretical and experimental researches. All these valuable results can be considered as a starting point for further investigations on the interaction between seals and the complete hydraulic equipment and on the root of seals degradation.
This article proposes a physical model of performance degradation acting on dynamic seals of an electro-hydraulic servo-actuator (EHSA) ram for primary flight controls. In this article, a dynamic non-linear seals degradation model has been developed, based on the Hart-Smith hyperelasticity model, which physically describes the stress and strain of “rubber-like” materials. Similarly, wearing has been assessment by using the Archard’s equation. Furthermore, different operating temperatures have been considered to analyze the effect on seals performances.
The integration between the mentioned seals degradation model and the high-fidelity model of the complete EHSA allows to evaluate the influence of various wear levels on the actuator behaviour. This research activity is inserted into a more extensive project of Prognostic and Health Management (PHM) of EHSAs. The results of the proposed simulations reveal how the performance of an EHSA can be affected by seals degradations.