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Lubricant compatibility of FKM seals in synthetic oils

Dilek Bulut (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Institute of Machine Design and Tribology, Leibniz Universitaet Hannover Institute of Machine Design and Tribology, Hannover, Germany)
Tatjana Krups (German Institute of Rubber Technology, Hannover, Germany)
Gerhard Poll (Insitute of Machine Design and Tribology, Leibniz Universitat Hannover, Hannover, Germany)
Ulrich Giese (German Institute of Rubber Technology, Hannover, Germany)

Industrial Lubrication and Tribology

ISSN: 0036-8792

Article publication date: 22 July 2019

Issue publication date: 16 June 2020



Elastomer seals are used in many applications. They are exposed to lubricants and additives at elevated temperatures, as well as mechanical stresses. They can only provide good sealing function when they have resistance to those factors. There are many elastomer-lubricant compatibility tests based on DIN ISO 1817 in industry. However, they are insufficient and costly. Correlations between the tests and the applications are inadequate. The purpose of this study is investigating lubricant compatibility of fluoroelastomers (FKM) seals in polyethylene-glycol (PG)- and polyalphaolefin (PAO)- based synthetic oils and developing a methodology to predict seal service life.


A new compatibility test which is more sufficient in terms of time and cost was developed and compared with a standard test, currently used in industry. Compatibility of FKM radial lip seals with PG- and PAO-based synthetic oils with different additives was investigated chemically and dynamically. Failure mechanisms were examined.


The new method and the Freudenberg Flender Test FB 73 11 008 showed similar results concerning damages and similar tendencies regarding wear. The additive imidazole derivative was the most critical. Static tests give indications of possible chemically active additives, but alone they are insufficient to simulate the dynamic applications.


The paper describes a new method to investigate elastomer-lubricant compatibility and gives first results with a variety of lubricants.



This research was funded by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft industrieller Forschungsvereigungen “Otto von Guericke” e.V. under the grant IGF 18053 N.


Bulut, D., Krups, T., Poll, G. and Giese, U. (2020), "Lubricant compatibility of FKM seals in synthetic oils", Industrial Lubrication and Tribology, Vol. 72 No. 5, pp. 557-565.



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