A novel hydrodynamically lubricated compression type rotary seal that is suitable for lubricant retention and environmental exclusion. Particularly, the seal geometry ensures constraint of a hydrodynamic seal in a manner preventing skew-induced wear and provides adequate room within the seal gland to accommodate thermal expansion. The seal accommodates large as-manufactured variations in the coefficient of thermal expansion of the sealing material, provides a relatively stiff integral spring effect to minimize pressure-induced shuttling of the seal within the gland, and also maintains interfacial contact pressure within the dynamic sealing interface in an optimum range for efficient hydrodynamic lubrication and environment exclusion. The seal geometry also provides for complete support about the circumference of the seal to receive environmental pressure, as compared the interrupted character of seal support set forth in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,873,576 and 6,036,192 and provides a hydrodynamic seal which is suitable for use with non-Newtonian lubricants.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with United States Government support under Contract No. DE-FG03-96ER82199 awarded by the Department of Energy. The United States Government therefore has certain rights in this invention.