Although most people do not even realize it, high temperature seals are all around us. And without them, our lives would be radically different from what they are today. Basically, wherever fluid, gas, or air needs to be contained, chances are that high pressure seals are behind that containment. When hot fluid or oil is involved, you can be that high temperature seals are being utilized to prevent leakage. In fact, almost every machine that involves air, gas, or fluid, there is a high temperature seal or high pressure seal involved in its mechanisms.
Even though some high pressure seals and high temperature seals are very simple in design, when they fail, the outcomes can be catastrophic. One of the most infamous events tied to faulty static seals is the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster of January 28, 1986. For those who remember, the investigation of the Challenger explosion revealed that a faulty O ring led to a dangerous leakage of highly flammable rocket fuel. Of course, the rest is history.
If there is one type of high temperature seal to which we all owe a debt, it is probably the head gaskets found in the engines of our automobiles. The head gasket prevents fuel from escaping from the fuel intake and flooding the cylinders. In the event that the head gasket fails, people should be on the horn to their employers ASAP, because their commutes are going to end quickly.
Besides O rings and head gaskets, there are several different kinds of high temperature seals and high temperature oil seals. Some examples of these are peek seals, spring energized seals, rotary seals, and pneumatic seals. We already know that O rings are a type of static seal. Regardless of they type of high pressure seal, however, we should never underestimate how important to our daily lives. The Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy will forever be a testament to the importance of high temperature seals.