Five Explosive Decompression O-Ring Materials

explosive decompression o-ring

Where and When Explosive Decompression is a Risk

One of the causes of failure in many high pressure sealing applications is explosive decompression o-ring damage. Visually, this is indicated when the seal surface is blistered or marked with deep splits. In the worst examples, the seal surface is completely ruptured.

Explosive decompression (ED) o-ring damage, also sometimes referred to as Rapid Gas Decompression (RGD), is caused when elastomer seals are exposed to high-pressure gas at elevated temperatures (or extremely low temperatures) for a prolonged period of time. At high pressures, the gas compresses and can permeate into the polymer. When that high pressure is reduced, the gas expands and is forced out of the material.

Failure occurs if the rate of decompression is too high. This causes the gas to expand rapidly, applying large forces to the inside of the material. If the gas expands too quickly to permeate out of the material naturally, the elastomer can rupture, allowing the gas to escape quickly.

Explosive decompression is a concern in several applications and is often associated with oil and gas exploration ventures. It most often occurs with carbon dioxide but is also a risk in environments utilizing steam or other areas where rapid gas decompression is a factor.

Increasing the time for decompression and reducing the application temperatures can typically reduce the risk of explosive decompression damage. But choosing an ED-resistant material for the sealing solution will be the strongest way to mitigate the risk.

Marco Rubber & Plastics has a host of options in material types to help solve your specific application sealing issues within the realm of high-pressure o-rings. Ultimately, the seal’s performance will depend on the application itself, as the material can vary widely. It’s important to discuss your specific application with an application engineer, but we’ve identified five particular compounds below to give you an idea of the options available.

5 Material Solutions that Excel in High-Pressure Environments

HNBR R1008 — Hydrogenated Nitrile was specifically developed for increased temperature resistance and better compatibility with new automotive fuels when compared to standard nitrile. This particular compound is Peroxide cured and manufactured to be explosive decompression resistant. It provides good chemical resistance to crude oil and lubricating agents, with superior resistance to carbon dioxide, drilling mud, and amine corrosion inhibitors. Tested to NORSOK M-710, this compound can also handle Sour Gas containing up to 5 percent hydrogen sulfide (H2S).

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EPDM E1121 — EPDM rubber is an elastomer characterized by a wide range of applications and good chemical resistance, with this particular compound proven to be excellent for use in geothermal environments. Also explosive decompression resistant, this compound can withstand use in steam environments up to 550ºF (288ºC) with excursions up to 600ºF (315ºC). Tested to NACE TM0297, this compound is a good fit for oilfield and steam injection applications.

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Aflas FEPM L1009 — Specifically formulated to be explosive decompression resistant, this compound is ideal for high pressure and pressure cycling applications. Its superior performance in water, steam, and virtually all caustics causes it to be a natural fit in the oil and gas exploration and extraction industry. This compound can handle sour gas containing up to 30 percent H2S. Tested to NACE TM0297.

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Viton V1090/V1160 — Designed for oil and gas drilling applications, these low temperature and high durometer terpolymer FKM compounds have passed testing for both NORSOK M-710 and NACE TM0297 standards for rapid gas decompression. Both compounds can operate in temperatures as low as -40ºF, with V1160 rated for -50ºF.

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Markez® Z1412/Z1322 — This pair of representatives from our Markez® line of perfluoroelastomer o-rings and seals offer AED (anti-explosive decompression) resistance at opposite ends of the temperature spectrum. Z1322 can operate at temperatures as low as -50ºF for down-the-hole oil and gas applications and provides exceptional resistance to methanol, sour gas, hot water steam, and oils. Z1412, on the other hand, offers high temperature (590ºF) resistance for long-term exposure while providing increased pressure and AED resistance. With superior mechanical properties and high sealing efficiency, Z1412 is well suited for diesel and jet engine applications. Z1322 has been tested to NORSOK M-710, while Z1412 has been tested to both NORSOK M-170 and NACE TM0297

View Z1322 Data Sheet | View Z1412 Data Sheet

Work with Marco Rubber for Explosive Decompression O-Rings

While seven different compounds were highlighted above, Marco Rubber & Plastics is not limited in scope or ability to tackle any sealing challenge. Our list of materials is not limited to those previously listed, and our team of experts and engineers is capable of crafting customized solutions for an equally wide array of applications. After accounting for materials and applications, Marco Rubber can work with more than 3,000 different formulations.

Cheap seals may seem like a good solution in the short term, but every decision has a cost. We believe in specialty formulation to help you get a sealing material specific to your application. This will dramatically cut down on the risk, especially in fields where explosive decompression o-ring failure is a concern, and increase your uptime and productivity through less lost time for replacements and maintenance.

Because we have millions of products in stock and ready to ship throughout our network, we can get you the right seal quickly thanks to our rapid fulfillment — in many instances, your order will ship same-day. And if a custom formulation is needed, our responsive team will get back to your request often in a matter of hours with pricing and next steps.

If long-lasting performance is essential for your application — whether it includes high temperatures, harsh chemicals and solvents, high pressures, high-temperature steam, or even subzero temperatures — the experts at Marco Rubber & Plastics can help you find or formulate the ideal solution to seal your success.

Seal Your Success with Explosive Decompression Materials and O-Rings from Marco Rubber & Plastics

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