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The Engineering Seals Summer Reading List: Our Picks

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With the weather warming up in many places across the globe, it’s time to sit back, reflect, and enjoy some rays with a few interesting summer reads. What might you find tucked in the travel bags of our engineers and plastics experts?  Read on to see various trends and insights in the polymer industry that we hope you enjoy. We love to learn so please share recommendations on other good articles in the comments field below. 

Manufacturing Systems/Materials

In the Iron Age and beyond, metal was often the material of choice in many industrial applications because of its malleability, but today, metal-to-plastic conversions are on the rise. This recent article in Machine Design discusses strengths and considerations for polymers that we work with daily.   

From so long ago to the modern world, Flow Network takes you on a current path to the most critical factors in a sealing system to avoid failure and promote lifetime confidence. 


According to the Air Transport Association’s 2010 economic report, operating revenues for U.S. airlines dropped 17% during the 2009 recession, an effect that reverberated globally. Airlines were forced to scale back on purchasing new aircraft and equipment, making fleet maintenance even more important. Discover how advances in polymers and other materials can extend part life and reduce maintenance in this “oldie but goodie,” The Parts Make the Whole: Aircraft Systems Components in ECN. 

Learn about a dozen exciting explorations in the works with NASA, from measuring “marsquakes” to flying a probe closer than ever to the sun, in Big Think. Also, check out exotic exoplanets with this NASA visualization tool. 

Saint-Gobain Seals’ sealing and polymer solutions have been used in many NASA space missions.  Did you know we started with Project Mercury and have been on every space shuttle launch? This year celebrates the 60th anniversary of our OmniSeal® RACO® spring-energized seal. Discover how a six-foot version of this rugged, cryogenic seal will be used in the Space Launch System (Exploration Mission 1) in NASA Tech Briefs 40th Anniversary issue (application briefs, page 42). There are amazing technologies featured.

Life Sciences/Medical

Applications for plastics in the life sciences field continue to grow. Learn about recent uses for polymers in combatting antimicrobial resistance in How 'Ninja Polymers' Are Fighting Killer Superbugs from the BBC.  If you follow our Twitter account, you might have seen our “tweet” about it. 

Discover how seals are being used in separation and analysis of small particles with High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography (UHPLC) systems as well as in medical devices and surgical tools. 

Energy/Oil & Gas

Helping to reduce fugitive emissions is something that is always on our oil and gas team’s minds and the global customers we support. Containing processes is not only essential in meeting regulatory requirements, but also increases productivity with less product lost. Discover why knowledge of sealing technology is power from the Fluid Sealing Association. 

Demand for petroleum and natural gas is pushing oil and gas producers to produce new downhole reserves, often also necessitating the ability to withstand high pressure, high temperature (HPHT) and other demanding conditions. In a survey conducted by Oil & Gas iQ, 57,000 of its membership indicated seals are the biggest technology gap followed by testing and safety measures.  This cool infographic related to API 6A valves shows the most common reasons for valve failure are seat/seal problems; this is the reason we developed a guideline manual. 

Similarly, this article from our partner, AZO Materials, touches on using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to test polymer candidates. Contact us for a copy of recent articles in Energy Oil & Gas and Valve World on this topic. 


In 2009, China surpassed the U.S. as the largest automotive market, and it was the biggest Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) market in 2015. The Shakeup Looms for China’s Electric-Vehicle Makers, according to Bloomberg, with China pushing to lead the electric vehicle market and its automakers increasing acquisitions in this space worldwide. 

Finally, this article on Metal-to-Plastic Conversion Parts Help Drive Heavy Industry from Power Transmission Engineering provides a primer on why automotive and other manufacturers are increasingly looking to plastics. This case study on high-performance transmission seals gives you a closer look to how the right solution makes THE difference. 

Have a happy summer reading, learning, and creating exciting memories!