This article surveys the present state of knowledge relating to the question of what goes on at the point of contact between the seal and the shaft in the case of the garter spring lip‐type seal. Whilst it is known that there is a thin film of oil present, little or nothing is known about the forces which prevent leakage of oil at the outer edge of the film. Current investigations are showing that the smooth contact area of the rubber is anything but smooth when looked at microscopically and the implications of this in relation to the sealing mechanism are being investigated.
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