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 January 27, 2016 - 6:46 PM EST
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Patent Issued for Seal Ring (USPTO 9239113)

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- According to news reporting originating from

Alexandria, Virginia
, by VerticalNews journalists, a patent by the inventors Nagai, Junya (Niigata, JP); Shibano, Tomoya (Niigata, JP); Saito, Mika (Niigata, JP), filed on June 22, 2011, was published online on January 19, 2016.

The assignee for this patent, patent number 9239113, is KABUSHIKI KAISHA RIKEN (

Tokyo
, JP).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "In recent years, there is a demand to reduce the drive loss of the automatic transmission of an automobile, in order to improve the fuel consumption of the automobile. For the purpose of hydraulic sealing, a seal ring is attached to the automatic transmission. However, the friction loss of the seal ring leads to the drive loss of the automatic transmission. Therefore, one important task is to reduce the friction of the seal ring. In addition, the capacity of an oil pump of the automatic transmission is a significant factor that causes the drive loss, and therefore there is a demand to reduce the amount of oil leakage from the seal ring to thereby reduce the capacity of the oil pump. To reduce the drive loss of the automatic transmission to thereby improve the fuel consumption of the automobile, it is necessary for the seal ring to have low-friction characteristics and low-leakage characteristics.

"FIG. 1 shows the basic structure of a hydraulic circuit using a seal ring. The seal ring 1 is attached to a shaft groove (ring groove) 4 formed on the outer peripheral surface of a shaft 2 and disposed on opposite axial sides of a hydraulic passage 3. Hydraulic oil supplied from the hydraulic passage 3 is received by the pressure-receiving side-surface 11 and inner peripheral surface 12 of the seal ring. The outer peripheral surface 13 of the seal ring is in contact with the inner surface of a housing 5, and the contact side-surface 14 of the seal ring is in contact with a side surface of the shaft groove 4. The hydraulic pressure is thereby sealed. Generally, the shaft 2 is rotatable, and the housing 5 is stationary. However, a combination of a stationary shaft and a rotatable housing may be used.

"A method generally used to reduce the friction (friction loss) of a seal ring is to reduce a pressurizing load for pressing the contact side-surface of the seal ring that serves as a principal sliding surface against the ring groove. More specifically, a seal ring having a cross-sectional shape that allows the pressure of supplied oil to act between the contact side-surface of the seal ring and the ring groove is used to reduce the pressurizing load by the action of a cancelling load.

"Patent Literature 1 discloses a method of reducing a pressurizing load by using a seal ring including side surfaces forming a tapered shape having an axial width that decreases from an outer peripheral side toward an inner peripheral side. With this configuration, a cancelling load is generated between a ring groove and a side surface of the seal ring. The tapered shape formed by the side surfaces can significantly reduce the pressurizing load and is currently known as the shape of a seal ring that can minimize friction.

"Patent Literature 2 discloses a seal ring including: peripherally spaced recessed sections (pockets) 6 formed at least on the inner peripheral side of a contact side-surface; and pillar sections 7 disposed between the recessed sections 6, as shown in FIG. 2(A). As shown in FIGS. 2(B) and 2(C), each recessed section 6 includes: a deepest inclined portion 51 formed such that the axial width (thickness) of the seal ring decreases in an inner peripheral direction; and converging portions 52 that are located on opposite peripheral sides of the deepest inclined portion 51 and converge toward the innermost peripheral points of adjacent pillar sections 7. In this configuration, when the seal ring rotates, the oil filling the recessed sections 6 is squeezed along inclined surfaces of converging portions 52, and a lift 60 is thereby generated. In addition, hydraulic pressure acts on the recessed sections 6 on the contact side-surface. This causes a pressing load reduction effect (cancelling pressure 61), and friction is thereby reduced. In the seal ring in Patent Literature 2, a side surface of the seal ring is in surface contact with the ring groove and slides thereon, as shown in FIG. 2(D). Therefore, no leakage passage is formed in a gap of the abutment joint of the seal ring, and low-leakage characteristics are thereby obtained.

"In the seal ring in Patent Literature 1, the sliding contact between a side surface of the seal ring and the ring groove is line contact, and the circular sliding line is located on the gap of the abutment joint of the seal ring. This causes a problem in that the oil leaks from the gap of the abutment joint. Although the use of the recessed sections in Patent Literature 2 allows a reduction in friction, the degree of reduction is lower than that in the seal ring in Patent Literature 1. Therefore, there is a demand to further reduce the friction."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Technical Problem

"The present invention has been made in view of the foregoing circumstances, and it is an object to provide a seal ring that has low-friction characteristics and also low-leakage characteristics, can reduce the drive loss of the automatic transmission of an automobile, and can contribute to an improvement in the fuel consumption of the automobile.

"Solution to Problem

"In view of the above object, the present inventors have made extensive studies and found that, in a seal ring including peripherally spaced recessed sections formed on the inner peripheral side of a contact side-surface and pillar sections disposed between the recessed sections, friction can be reduced by providing inner walls on the inner peripheral side of the recessed sections and also providing oil introduction openings that open on the inner peripheral surface of the seal ring. Thus, the invention has been completed. More specifically, the seal ring of the present invention is a seal ring attached to a shaft groove formed on the outer peripheral surface of a shaft and is characterized in that a plurality of peripherally spaced recessed sections are formed on at least the inner peripheral side of the contact side-surface of the seal ring and that an inner wall and an oil introduction opening that opens on the inner peripheral surface are provided on the inner peripheral side of each of the recessed sections.

"Advantageous Effects of Invention

"In the present invention, inner walls are formed on the inner peripheral side of the recessed sections formed on the contact side-surface of the seal ring, and oil introduction openings that open on the inner peripheral surface are provided. By providing the inner walls in the recessed sections, oil introduced through the oil introduction openings is led to wedge-shaped inclined surfaces located in peripheral ends of the recessed sections. A lift is thereby generated, and an oil film is formed on each pillar section. This causes the pillar sections to float up and facilitates introduction of the oil onto an annular sealing surface located on the outer peripheral side of the recessed sections. The state of the sealing surface approaches a fluid lubrication state, and the coefficient of friction is thereby reduced. In addition, hydraulic pressure acts on the recessed sections on the contact side-surface, and the pressing load is thereby reduced. In the seal ring of the present invention, as a result of the synergetic effect of these two effects, the friction can be effectively reduced. In the seal ring of the present invention, the contact side-surface is in surface contact with a side surface of the ring groove, and therefore oil leakage can be suppressed. As described above, the seal ring of the present invention has low-friction characteristics and also low-leakage characteristics. Therefore, the drive loss of an automatic transmission can be effectively reduced."

For more information, see this patent: Nagai, Junya; Shibano, Tomoya; Saito, Mika. Seal Ring.

U.S.
Patent Number 9239113, filed June 22, 2011, and published online on January 19, 2016. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=9239113.PN.&OS=PN/9239113RS=PN/9239113

Keywords for this news article include: Automobiles, Transportation, KABUSHIKI KAISHA RIKEN.

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Source: Equities.com News (January 27, 2016 - 6:46 PM EST)

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