Labyrinth seals are a common type of mechanical seal used to prevent contamination within a bearing system’s design. Bearings are frequently used in locations with prolonged exposure to abrasive dust, dirt, debris, or mud. In these heavily contaminated environments, the bearings need protection from these external factors to operate reliably.
While many sealing options are available, a basic option is a labyrinth seal. Labyrinth seals are a non-contact seal that makes a tougher path for contaminants to enter while operating with little or no friction. The labyrinth rings are made of steel and have two radially arranged labyrinth steps that form a narrow sealing gap with the housing grooves. Labyrinth seals allow for some misalignment, high speeds, a wide temperature range, and do not limit axial movement due to thermal expansion.