A New Elastic Non Contacting Sealing Concept for Valves
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The hydraulic binary counter concept was proposed as a means to realize compact and lightweight digital hydraulic cylinder drives for exoskeleton actuation. This counter principle is based on hydraulically actuated switching valves which have a hysteretic response with respect to the pilot pressure. Manufacturing tolerances of the tiny components caused unexpected high leakage which, in turn, led to a malfunction of the system.
In this paper a new sealing concept, is introduced to solve this problem. It is based on a non-contact seal (sealing gap), which exploits a self-regulating, elasto-hydrodynamic effect to reduce a rather large initial gap h0 ? to allow a rough tolerance ? into a very small sealing gap h(x) to avoid dry friction of valve spool movement on the one hand but have very small leakage on the other hand.
As sealing, an annular flexible ring made, e.g. of PTFE, is used which combines sufficient flexibility to allow this self adapting mechanism to a sufficient extent and to stay the high pressure loads.
For the mathematical analysis of the concept, an approximate elasto-hydrodynamic analytical model is used. It sets the gap pressure, obtained from the Reynold?s equation for the sealing gap, the elastic restoring forces of the sealing ring, and the imparting pressure in equilibrium.
The sealing concept is then simulated with a numerical model built with the finite element code ABAQUS, this results are compared with the one of the analytical model.
It solves the Reynolds equation by a user defined subroutine. The simulation results indicate that this sealing principle delivers way better results than standard gap seals despite its rough manufacturing tolerances with one order of magnitude higher tolerance ranges. The application of this concept is not limited to small valves as needed for exoskeleton hydraulics but can be transferred to conventional type of hydraulics as well.