What is the Difference between a Balanced and Unbalanced Mechanical Seal?

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Difference between a Balanced and Unbalanced Mechanical Seal

Difference between a Balanced and Unbalanced Mechanical Seal

Here we describe the difference between a balanced and unbalanced mechanical seal. The mechanical seal is the most important and most used part. If you check its specification and type, then it can be classified into balanced and unbalanced mechanical seals.

Balanced mechanical seal

Before we check their difference, let’s understand what mechanical seal balance is first. It is the load that acts across the seal faces. This load between the seal faces should be optimum.

If the load is exceptionally high, then the liquid film gets oozed out. When it vaporizes, it causes unstable conditions. Because of the thermos-electrical instability, there is high wear and tear on the sealing surface.

When the seal is balanced, it avoids this situation and leads to reduce energy consumption. It extends the life of the seal. The pressure in a stuffing box is applied equally in all directions. This pressure keeps the primary ring stable against the mating or rotating ring.

In case of high pressure, it is possible to lower it by reducing the diameter of the shoulder on the sleeve or by decreasing the seal hardware.

The face area or opening area of a balanced seal is the same as an unbalanced seal. But the closing area is maintained in proportion to the face area. When the closing area reduces, the closing force also reduces proportionately. Thus, less heat is generated, and the seal has an extended life.

Unbalanced mechanical seal

In an unbalanced seal scenario, a multiple times higher hydraulic closing force is generated by the actual pressure sealing the two faces. Though an unbalanced seal is more stable as compared to a balanced seal, the chances of wear are high if the closing force on the seal faces goes beyond a limit. It wears out the lubricating film and it squeezes out. The dry seal fails because of the heavy load. The unbalanced seal is always without a shoulder.

Key differences between balanced and unbalanced mechanical seals

Both Mechanical sealing types are popularly used in different mechanical applications. Here you know the difference between balanced/unbalanced mechanical seals.

# Heat Generation

It is more in unbalanced seals.

# Seal life

It is more in balanced seals.

# Vibration and stability

Unstable seals are more stable and aligned

# Liquid handling capacity

Unbalanced seals are capable of handling high capacities of high-lubricity fluids. On the other hand, Balanced seals are capable of handling high capacities of poor lubricity fluids. Therefore, these seals are considered better for light hydrocarbons.

#Heat Generation

The generation of heat across the face is more in unbalanced seals. The generation of heat across the surface is low in balanced seals.

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