Seals are so ingrained into the everyday life of the average American that they're seldom talked about or even considered. But without them, life would be much more difficult. Seals are the objects that make many everyday functions possible. Without seals, you couldn't keep the gas inside your propane tank or the air inside your compressor. Without seals, all the gasoline would leak out of the tanks of automobiles, planes, and other gas-powered equipment, such as weed trimmers, lawn mowers, and chain saws. Without seals, there would be no space shuttles, or seagoing vessels, or power tools. The types of metals used to make seals vary within industries, but several stand out above the rest because of their many advantageous features:
Benefits of Aluminum Seals
Aluminum can do so much more than just wrap your leftovers in foil and contain the soda inside your can. Aluminum is a perfect material for compressor seals for several reasons:
- Aluminum is one of the lightest-weight metals on the market, which makes it a perfect choice of seal material for the aerospace industry. Additionally, aluminum's light weight makes it cost-effective to ship.
- Aluminum is surprisingly durable. For a metal that weighs only a fraction as much as steel, iron or brass, aluminum can stand up to the best of them when it comes to strength and durability.
- Aluminum is resistant to rust and corrosion.
- Aluminum won't hold a magnetic charge.
- Aluminum can be manufactured without seams, adding to its durability and longevity in industrial applications.
Benefits of Bronze Seals
Bronze isn't just for baby booties anymore. Aside from becoming bowling trophies and drawer pulls, the copper-alloy bronze is another material that's often used for seals within many industries, including aerospace and ship-building, due to its many beneficial features:
- When combined with other elements, such as phosphorus, bronze becomes exceptionally strong and long-lasting.
- Bronze holds up well to extremes of temperature, weather, moisture, and friction.
- Like aluminum, bronze resists rust and corrosion.
- Bronze conducts electricity, which makes it a good choice of seal for electrical applications.
Benefits of Stainless Steel Seals
You may think of pots and pans when you hear the term stainless steel. Or maybe your high-end appliances come to mind. But this durable metal is a good choice for industrial applications as well. Stainless steel is a sought-after material for seals because of its incredible strength, among other factors:
- Stainless steel is easy to mold and shape, making it a prime candidate for unique applications.
- Stainless steel is corrosion-resistant and self-healing.
- Stainless steel holds up well to extremes of heat and cold.
- Stainless steel is cost-effective to manufacture.
Benefits of Copper Seals
While copper is a more pricey metal to mine and manipulate, it has several features that make it perfect for specialized applications:
- Copper is a soft, easily manipulated metal.
- Like bronze, copper conducts electricity, making it a good choice for electrical applications.
- Copper resists rust and corrosion.
The next time you watch an airliner fly overhead or see a marina filled with sailing vessels, consider the role that the various types of seals play in keeping them operational. Seals are the connectors of the world -- bringing tubing and piping together to create inventions that man would have a hard time living without. They make air and space travel possible. They help run the products that run people's homes. Seals make it possible for humans to drive, fly, float, and dream. Cooking and baking would be difficult without seals, and so would taking a shower. Just about any activity you can imagine, from riding your bike to trimming your hedges was made possible by seals. They're just that important.
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