When Niels Christensen applied for a patent for the o-ring back in the 1930s, he probably had no idea how his small product would have such a huge impact on so many industries.

O-rings, along with other types of seals and gaskets, are now used in a huge number of ways — from farm equipment and food storage to concrete machinery, amusement parks, the automotive industry and over at NASA.

While the shape of the o-ring and many other seals are basically the same as they were over a century ago, there have been some interesting advancements and innovations in the general sealing technology.

Keeping Food Fresh and Safe With Silicone Seals

When you were growing up, you might recall storing leftovers in old cottage cheese containers. But now, thanks to the advancements in sealing technologies as well as budget-friendly storage containers, you can keep your leftovers fresher longer with the help of food-grade silicone seals. For instance, Lock N Lock offers four-side locking technology that effectively locks each lid on twice. Since the seals are made from safe polypropylene, consumers are able to microwave the lids and seals and place them in the dishwashers. The food-grade silicone seal found in this type of container will not only keep your leftovers fresh for longer, they can be safely used to store pastas, rice, crackers and other dry goods, with no concerns at all if the seals touch the food.

Better Understanding of Elastomers

In recent years, scientists have made significant advancements in the understanding of the elastomers that are used to make a variety of seals. This greater knowledge has allowed for better predictive analysis in regards to how the seals will stand up when in use; for example, how harsh environments will impact an elastomer. By understanding if and when a seal will fail, scientists are gaining important insight on how to improve the o-rings, gaskets and other types of seals so they will last even longer.

Chemical Compatibility Is Crucial

When you are choosing the ideal gasket seal or o-ring for your industry, it is vital to take more than the size into account. It is also crucial to determine any chemical compatibility issues between the seal and what is being stored. Thanks to recent advancements in the sealing industry, business owners don’t have to guess what type of seal is best for their products. Apple Rubber offers a gasket seal design guide to help their customers place an order for gaskets and/or o-rings. They are asked to match their application’s chemicals with the o-ring or gasket seal material that offers the best resistance. The Apple Rubber site features a Chemical Compatibility table that will help in this process, and ensure that the correct products are ordered for the intended tasks.

Seals: Important and Innovative

Clearly, proper seals are needed in a wide variety of industries. However, scientists are not content to sit on their laurels; they are constantly looking for ways to improve this interesting and much-needed industry. From chemical compatibility and food-grade seals to understanding about friction and more, the small-but-mighty o-ring and other seals are continuing to improve and be stronger than ever.