Synergistic effects in fluorocarbon elastomer seals produced by a combined temperature and radiation environment



Fluorocarbon elastomer seals were subjected to single stress radiation and temperature tests and combined stress tests with the seals immersed in silicone oil, to obtain a service life estimate. Their sealing capability was mechanically tested during the tests. In single environment tests the seals were resistant to temperature-induced stresses and very hard to radiation, showing no failures up to 108 rads. The combined tests, using three matched pairs of temperature and radiation dose rate, indicated a reduction in service life from 40 years at 145°C with no radiation to 21 years at 50°C with radiation, pointing to a significant synergism between radiation and temperature.