When an O-ring is under high-pressure gas for an extended period of time, and that pressure is reduced too rapidly, explosive decompression can occur. The gas that gets trapped or absorbed in the O-ring’s micropores causes splits or ruptures in the surface of the O-ring.

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Hardening and oxidation occur when the part is exposed to high temperatures for an extended period of time, causing plasticizer volatilization and oxidative cracking. As the O-ring material hardens, the O-ring is unable to retain sealability, causing leakage and failure to occur.

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While O-ring designs are meant to withstand outside influences within the application environment in which they are used, failure is still possible. A combination of factors, from design to human error, can contribute to the premature failure of an O-ring.

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