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Inflatable Seals FAQ

Master Seal is an industry leader, with decades of experience creating custom engineered, fabric-reinforced, fully molded inflatable seals and other inflatable products.

What is an Inflatable Seal?

A fabric-reinforced inflatable seal is an elastomeric tube molded into a concave, convoluted or flat configuration. It is designed to round out with the introduction of an inflation medium to form a tight barrier between a mounting and striking surface. See Inflatable Seals "101" for more information.

How does an Inflatable Seal Work?

An inflatable seal operates by introducing an inflation medium. Upon introduction of the inflation medium, it quickly expands to the striking surface, affecting a positive seal. When the inflation medium is removed, the seal retracts naturally to the deflated molded configuration. This provides clearance for free movement of one or both surfaces. Learn more about our rubber seal profile configurations.

How is an Inflatable Seal Inflated?

The most common inflation medium for fabric-reinforced inflatable seals is air. The specific parameters of the application determine the optimum operating pressure. In some applications, liquid or gel may be used as the inflation medium. Introduction of the inflation medium is through a stem which is usually a flexible hose secured to an integrally molded fitting with a ferrule. A variety of fittings may be attached to the end of the hose. Learn more.

What Are My Other Options?

For less demanding applications, you have the option of using a non-reinforced inflatable seal. Non-reinforced inflatable seals are essentially rubber extrusions that are spliced together and have a valve cured into them. In applications requiring low pressure and low cycles, this approach may be considered. Generally speaking, non-reinforced inflatable seals do not provide the construction integrity and longevity that fabric reinforced, fully molded inflatable seals provide.

Depending on the application, a specialty engineered rubber product, i.e; a bag, compression seal, coupler, cover, diaphragm or rubber gasket may be the solution for your application. Seal Master has the design expertise to manufacture unique elastomeric products as required for your application.

Can You Design a Custom Seal?

Yes! Essentially all Seal Master inflatable seals are custom rubber seal designs. After over 30-years in business, more than 7,500 unique products have been developed. Take a look at all of the unique cross sections we have designed over the years.

Why Use an Inflatable Seal?

An inflatable seal has several advantages over other sealing methods:

  • It provides a leak-proof closure, yet allows clearance when needed.
  • It simplifies the design of the structure and hardware.
  • It minimizes the need for close machining and/or fabricating tolerances.
  • It is not subject to a compression set which negates effectiveness of other seals.

Who Do I Contact About Technical Concerns?

For an overview of parameters that determine the correct design, click here. Our rubber seal design team will guide you through the manufacturing process, so start today by calling our sales department at 1-800-477-8436

How Do I Install an Inflatable Seal?

Our engineer will walk you through our seal installation instructions in this short video.

How Do I Know Which Seal is Right for Me?

It's important to consider the application's environment: gas temperature, radiation and abrasion exposure when maintaining your inflatable seal. Learn more about these application environmental considerations here.

How Do I Maintain My Inflatable Seal?

Our expert engineers will make sure you know how to properly maintain your inflatable seal. As this depends largely on your application, contact us today for personalized assistance.

How Do I Hold the Seal in Place?

See "Inflatable Seal Retaining Systems" here to see the various systems we can create to fit your application's needs.