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Analysis of Reciprocating Seals in the Wet-Mate Electrical Connectors for Underwater Applications

[+] Author Affiliations
Quan Han, Yan Zhang, Haiyang Chen, Juekuan Yang, Yunfei Chen

Southeast University, Nanjing, China

Paper No. IMECE2018-86988, pp. V013T05A002; 8 pages
  • ASME 2018 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 13: Design, Reliability, Safety, and Risk
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, November 9–15, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5218-7
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


In order to complete the mating and demating operations of the electrical connectors for underwater applications in the deep water environment, the pressure-balanced oil-filled (PBOF) structures are designed to compensate the huge water pressure. This paper focuses on the sealing performance of three sealing systems used in connectors, including the O-ring seals, rectangular seals, and U-cup seals. A method coupled the finite element analysis and elastohy-drodynamic lubrication (EHL) numerical model is presented to describe the issue. Results show that the rectangular seals perform best in fluid leakage, and O-ring seals are better in reducing the friction force. The oil leakages of the seals increase with the speed while the seawater leakages remain roughly constant. And the oil leakages of all the seals are larger than the seawater leakage. Types of seal rings, fluid viscosity and operation speed of connector can all influence the sealing performance of wet-mate connectors.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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