Inflatable seals are operated via means of a medium such as air or water. Either medium pressurizes the internal chamber in the seal through a valve which in turn forces the expansion of the given profile to its intended/engineered shape.
Most Applications will only require a regulated air supply. Common Mediums: air or water.
The medium selection for seals or bladders is not limited to only air and water. Depending on the customer’s preferences, specific gases or liquids can be used. Where the removal of oxygen is critical, helium or nitrogen may be substituted. In other cases mineral oil may be used.
A set of 5 seals 40” long operating at 25psi were used in a wood laminating process, and successfully created over 20,000 lbs of force!
For another customer we were able to develop a small test bladder capable of sealing a pipe for leak detections at less than 4psi without deflecting a soft pipe.
Temperature issues can also play a significant role in determining which medium to use. For extremely low temperatures, hot liquid or air can be introduced to keep the actual temperature of the rubber compound from falling below its temperature resistance. Freezer doors are a good example where hot air may be used to prevent the rubber from freezing and sticking to metal surfaces. Likewise, cold air or water can be used to prevent the compound from overheating. Technical assistance will be required to determine if temperature issues warrant special attention during the design process.
An inflatable seal is capable of being operated to handle delicate objects and also creating a tremendous amount of force when needed.