The advent of the “Helixseal,” a type of hydrodynamic sealing element, to the automotive industry has provided a means for greatly reducing sealing problems with very little increase in production cost. A new sealing technology, developed during a 10-year program at the General Motors Research Laboratories, has involved detailed studies to optimize the basic sealing parameters of radial lip-type seals. Although all elements of a conventional lip seal design can be optimized, the frequency of seal failure is still intolerable due to the large number of production variables which affect leakage. Consequently, it was necessary to explore and develop a means of complementing the lip seal, whereby increased reliability could be assured. The Helixseal is based upon hydrodynamic principles which allow the generation of controlled fluid forces. It consists of angular pumping vanes, applied to the seal face to provide a viscous shear force that opposes leakage of the fluid film. Optimized design of the Helixseal can assure zero leakage in seal applications.

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