A high temperature, gas-tight seal is formed by utilizing one or more compliant metallic toroidal ring sealing elements, where the applied pressure serves to activate the seal, thus improving the quality of the seal. The compliant nature of the sealing element compensates for differences in thermal expansion between the materials to be sealed, and is particularly useful in sealing a metallic member and a ceramic tube art elevated temperatures. The performance of the seal may be improved by coating the sealing element with a soft or flowable coating such as silver or gold and/or by backing the sealing element with a bed of fine powder. The material of the sealing element is chosen such that the element responds to stress elastically, even at elevated temperatures, permitting the seal to operate through multiple thermal cycles.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-FC26-98FT40343 between Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. and the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights to this invention.