Ferrofluid rotary seal with replenishment system for sealing liquids

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Ferrofluid rotary seals are mechanical contact-free magnetic liquid seals that are characterised by their simple structure, low friction and ability to hermetically seal. Although ferrofluid rotary seals for sealing vacuum and gases are part of a well established industry, the sealing of liquids has not been implemented yet. Literature learns that degradation of the ferrofluid seal over time when it dynamically contacts a liquid results into premature seal failure. This paper presents a new type of ferrofluid rotary seal in which a ferrofluid replenishment system is implemented that renews the ferrofluid in the sealing ring while sealing capacity is maintained. By replacing the degraded ferrofluid in the seal at a sufficient rate, service life of the ferrofluid rotary seal can theoretically be unlimited. An analytical model and FEM analysis are used to design the ferrofluid sealing device and to predict its sealing capacity. An experimental test setup has been built on which the sealing capacity and service life of the device has been tested for different sealing conditions. It is demonstrated that the ferrofluid replenishment system successfully extends and controls the service life of the ferrofluid rotary seal that dynamically seals pressurised water.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106372
Number of pages9
JournalTribology International
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Ferrofluid transport
  • Lip seal
  • Magnetic liquid seal
  • Magnetics
  • Water

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