Results from a series of approximately one-half scale tests of selected commercially offered seal/liner configurations for the forward end of the stern-tube are discussed. The tests were performed to develop baseline data for comparison with subsequent research to achieve improved designs/materials using the highly instrumented, specially designed test rig which can simulate most conditions for stern-tube seal applications. The lip seal materials tested are nitrile rubber and elastomers. The liners include chrome steel, cast iron, and ceramic coatings. The most significant finding of the first series of tests concerns the large variance in the performance and useful life of the seal/liner combinations as supplied by the different manufacturers. Variances are attributed to lip sea geometry, material, liner material, and surface finish. One seal configuration exhibited failure after only six hours of test operation, which could well lead to a costly failure on a ship, while other seal configurations survived much longer test periods with only slight indications of wear.

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