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Friction Estimation

Friction, either break-out, running, or both, can become troublesome in some applications. At any given
time there are anomalies and difficulties in the prediction of friction. These are accentuated if one of the
surfaces involved is deformable as in O-ring piston or shaft seals. An understanding of the principles may
prove helpful in the solution of specific problems.
BREAK-OUT FRICTION In addition to the usual causes of friction, such as the hardness of the rubber,
the type of surface, the surface finish, the squeeze on the O-ring, the amount and type of Iubrication, and
the fluid pressure and temperature, the amount of break-out friction which an O-ring will develop depends
on the length of time the surfaces of the metal and the rubber have been in contact.
See Figure A6-3 and Figure A6-4.
TABLE A6-1 FRICTION FACTORS (IN ORDER OF IMPORTANCE)
TO INCREASE FRICTION
Increase
Increase RMS
Increase
Decrease
Increase
Increase
Omit
Decrease
Decrease
Increase
Decrease
Stretch O-ring
Lower Durometer of O-Ring

FACTOR

TO DECREASE FRICTION

Unit Load (squeeze)


Surface Finish (metal)
Durometer
Speed of Motion
Cross Section of O-Ring
Pressure
Lubrication
Temperature
Groove Width
Diameter of Bore or Rod
Surface Finish (O-Ring)
Joule Effect*
Coefficient of Friction#

Decrease
Decrease RMS
Decrease
Increase
Decrease
Decrease
Use
Increase
Increase
Decrease
Increase
Compress O-Ring
Increase Durometer

* Refer to rotary seals.


# A minor factor and should be ignored in design work other than for ultra high speeds
The theory has been proposed and generally accepted that the increase of friction on standing is caused by
the rubber O-ring flowing into the microfine grooves or surface irregularities of the mating part. As a
general rule for a 70 durometer rubber against an 8 micro-inch surface, the maximum break-out friction that
will develop in a system is 3 times the running friction. This ratio can be reduced by the use of a softer
rubber. Table A6-1 shows some of the factors which may be used to adjust friction.
Coefficient of friction has little bearing on lubricated rubber's break-out and running friction. The other
variables listed are much more important in the practical solution to problems.
RUNNING FRICTION High running friction may cause difficulty by wearing soft metal parts. Metals such
as copper brass, aluminum can be rapidly worn away by a moving O-ring. This is especially true if high
pressures are involved. If unexplained leakage occurs with these or other soft metals, it is good practice to
check the metal dimensions for signs of wear.
The following formulas may be used for estimating the running friction of O-rings.
PISTON GROOVE

ROD GROOVE

Fc = fc x Lp
FC = fc x Lr
FH = fh x Ap
FH = fh x Ar
F = Fc + FH
F = Fc + FH
Ap =
Ar =

Projected area of seal for piston groove applications.


Projected area of seal for rod groove applications.

F=
Fc =
FH =
fc =
fh =
Lp =
Lr =

Total seal friction in pounds.


Total friction due to seal compression.
Total friction due to hydraulic pressure on the seal.
Friction due to O-ring compression obtained from Figure A6-5.
Friction due to fluid pressure obtained from Figure A6-6.
Length of seal rubbing surface in inches for piston groove applications.
Length of seal rubbing surface in inches for rod groove applications.

Example:
Parker 2-214 rubbing against OD of O-ring at 1500 psi, 10% compression, 70 durometer:
Fc = 0.7 x 3.93 = 2.75
FH = 48 x 0.44
F = Fc + FH

= 20.90
= 23.65 pounds

Data for the coefficients (fc and fh) are given in Figure A6-5 and Figure A6-6. Projected areas and lengths
of rubbing surface are given in Table A6-2.

TABLE A6-2 PROJECTED AREAS AND LENGTHS OF RUBBING SURFACE FOR O-RINGS

O-RING SIZE
PARKER NO
2-006
2-007
2-008
2-009
2-010
2-011
2-012
2-013
2-014
2-015
2-016
2-017
2-018
2-019
2-020
2-021
2-022
2-023
2-024
2-025
2-026
2-027
2-028
2-110
2-111
2-112
2-113
2-114
2-117
2-118
2-121
2-122
2-123
2-124
2-125
2-126
2-127
2-128
2-129
2-130
2-131
2-132
2-133
2-134
2-135
2-136
2-137
2-138
2-139
2-140

PISTON GROOVE

ROD GROOVE

Ap
SQ. IN.
.03
.04
.05
.05
.06
.07
.08
.09
.10
.11
.12
.14
.15
.16
.17
.18
.19
.20
.21
.22
.24
.25
.26
.13
.15
.17
.19
.20
.26
.28
.33
.35
.36
.38
.40
.42
.43
.45
.47
.49
.50
.52
.54
.56
.58
.59
.61
.63
.65
.66

A
SQ. IN.
.03
.04
.04
.05
.05
.07
.08
.09
.10
.11
.12
.13
.14
.16
.17
.18
.19
.20
.21
.22
.23
.24
.26
.13
.15
.17
.18
.20
.25
.27
.32
.34
.36
.38
.40
.41
.43
.45
.47
.48
.50
.52
.54
.55
.57
.59
.61
.63
.64
.66

Lp
IN.
.79
.89
.98
1.08
1.18
1.38
1.57
1.77
1.97
2.16
2.36
256
2.75
2.95
3.14
3.34
3.54
3.73
3.93
4.13
4.32
4.52
4.72
1.77
1.97
2.16
2.36
2.56
3.14
3.34
3.93
4.13
4.32
4.52
4.72
4.91
5.11
5.30
5.50
5.70
5.89
6.09
6.29
648
6.68
6.88
7.07
7.27
7.46
7.66

Lr
IN.
.39
.49
.58
.68
.78
.98
1.17
1.37
1.57
1.76
1.96
2.16
2.35
2.55
2.75
2.94
3.14
3.33
3.53
3.73
3.92
4.12
4.32
1.17
1.37
1.57
1.76
1.96
2.55
2.75
3.33
3.53
3.73
3.92
4.12
4.32
4.51
4.71
4.90
5.10
5.30
5.49
5.69
5.59
6.08
6.28
6.47
6.67
6.87
7.07

O-RING SIZE
PARKER NO
2-141
2-142
2-143
2-144
2-145
2-146
2-147
2-148
2-149
2-210
2-211
2-212
2-213
2-214
2-215
2-216
2-217
2-218
2-219
2-220
2-325
2-326
2-329
2-330
2-331
2-332
2-333
2-334
2-335
2-336
2-337
2-338
2-339
2-340
2-341
2-342
2-343
2-344
2-345
2-346
2-347
2-348
2-349
2-425
2-426
2-427
2-428
2-429
2-430
2-431
2-432
2-433

PISTON GROOVE

ROD GROOVE

Ap
SQ. IN.
.68
.70
.72
.73
.75
.77
.79
.80
.82
.34
.36
.39
.41
.44
.46
.48
.51
.53
.56
.63
1.00
1.07
1 29
1.36
1.44
1.51
1.58
1.66
1.73
1.81
1.88
1.95
2.03
2.10
2.17
2.25
2.32
2.39
2.47
2.54
2.62
2.69
2.76
3.59
3.69
3.78
3.87
3.97
4.06
4.16
4.25
4.35

A
SQ. IN.
.68
.70
.71
.73
.75
.77
.78
.80
.82
.34
.36
.38
.41
.43
.46
.48
.50
.53
.55
.63
.99
1.21
1.29
1.36
1.43
1.51
1.58
1.65
1.73
1.80
1.87
1.95
2.02
2.10
2.17
2.24
2.31
2.39
2.46
2.54
2.61
2.68
2.76
3.57
3.66
3.76
3.85
3.95
4.04
4.14
4.23
4.32

Lp
IN.
7.86
8.05
8.25
8.45
8.64
8.84
9.04
9.23
9.43
3.15
3.34
3.54
3.74
3.93
4.13
4.33
4.52
4.72
4.91
5.50
5.90
6.07
7.47
7.86
8.25
8.65
9.04
9.43
9.82
10.22
10.61
11.00
11 40
11.79
12.18
12.58
12.97
13.36
13.75
14.15
14.54
14.93
15.32
15.72
16.11
16.51
16.90
17.29
17.68
18.08
18.47
18.86

Lr
IN.
7.26
7.46
7.65
7.85
8.05
8.24
8.44
8.64
8.83
2.35
2.54
2.74
2.94
3.14
3.33
3.53
3.72
3.92
4.12
4.71
4.71
5.88
6.28
6.67
7.06
7.45
7.85
8.24
8.63
9.03
9.42
9.81
10.20
10.59
10.99
11.38
11.77
12.16
12.56
12.95
13.34
13.73
14.13
14.13
14.52
14.91
15.31
15.70
16.09
16.48
16.88
17.27

O-RING SIZE
PARKER NO
2-434
2-435
2-436
2-437
2-438
2-439
2-440
2-441
2-442
2-443
2-444
2-445
2-446
2-447
2-448
2-449
2-450
2-451
2-452
2-453
2-454
2-455
2-456
2-457
2-458
2-459
2-460

PISTON GROOVE

ROD GROOVE

Ap
SQ. IN.
4.44
4.53
4.63
4.72
4.91
5.10
5.29
5.48
5.67
5.85
6.04
6.23
6.61
6.98
7.36
7.74
8.12
8.49
8.87
9.25
9.62
10.00
10.38
10.75
11.13
11.51
11.89

A
SQ. IN.
4.42
4.51
4.61
4.70
4.89
5.08
5.27
5.46
5.64
5.83
6.02
6.21
6.59
6.96
7.34
7.72
8.09
8.47
8.85
9.22
9.60
9.98
10.36
10.73
11.11
11.49
11.86

Lp
IN.
19.25
19.65
20.04
20.43
21.22
22.00
22.79
23.57
24.36
25.15
25.93
26.72
28.29
29.86
31.43
33.00
34.57
36.14
37.71
39.28
40.85
42.42
43.99
45.57
47.14
48.71
50.28

Lr
IN.
17.66
18.05
18.45
18.84
19.63
20.41
21.20
21.98
22.77
23.55
24.34
25.12
26.69
28.26
29.84
31.41
32.98
34.55
36.12
37.69
39.26
40.83
42.40
43.97
45.54
47.11
48.69