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Consortium to study seal life prediction methods An industrial consortium to study polymer seal life prediction methods is being launched by BHRA, The Fluid Engineering Research Centre, and the Materials Engineering Research Centre (MERL). Improved efficiency and reliability of processes and plant through better seal design and specification would result if a reliable method of predicting polymer seal life in terms of seal performance could be developed. To this end, the consortium will concentrate on furthering basic understanding of polymer sealing technology. A combination of experiment, performance testing, theoretical analysis and computer modelling will provide the basic knowledge required for realistic life prediction. Seals made from elastomer or other polymeric materials are commonly used in petroleum production and processing plant and similar highduty applications. At present, however, the functional life of seals exposed to difficult fluids, such as hydrocarbon mixtures, cannot be predicted. If, for example, an O-ring costing £40 failed in a critical North Sea offshore environment application) the resultant cost in downtime alone could be £I million. BHRA and MERL anticipate a September 1988 start for the envisaged three-year project if adequate support is forthcoming. Half a dozen oil companies and seal manufacturers and three materials manufacturers have expressed an interest in joining the consortium. Other organizations interested in participating should
contact either: Robert Flitney, BHRA, The Fluid Engineering Centre, Cranfield, Bedford MK43 0AJ, UK, or: Dr Robert Campion, MERL, Tamworth Road, Hertford SG13 7DG, UK.
Companies acquired An agreement has been reached between T&N and GKN for the acquisition by T&N of the GKN Vandervell companies for £12.7 million. Vandervell manufactures and distributes automotive thinwaU bearings, bushes and thrust washers. Manufacture is carried out in Maidenhead, UK, and Brunico, Italy. The products are also distributed by subsidiaries in the USA and Canada. Vandervell's activities complement those of T&N's subsidiaries The Glacier Metal Co (Kilmarnock, UK) Ltd and Soci6t6 Industrielle des Cousinnets SA (Annecy, France) which also produces thinwall bearings. T&N plc, Bowdon House, Ashburton Road West, Trafford Park, Manchester M 17 1 RA, UK.
Tribology symposium Symposium S of the Materials Research Society's 1988 Fall Meeting is entitled New Materials Approaches to Tribology: Theory and Applications. The symposium, to be held in Boston, MA, USA, on 28 November-3 December 1988, will emphasize the tribology of solid surfaces in extreme environments, such as ultra-high
vacuums and high or cryogenic temperatures. New tribomaterials being developed through surface modification, coating and novel deposition procedures will be examined, including composites and ceramics. Papers will attempt to correlate theory and application; hence the theory of friction and wear at the molecular level will be included. Details of accepted papers will be presented when received. Further information is available from: Materials Research Society, 9800 McKnight Road, Suite 327, Pittsburgh, PA 15237, USA.
Machine tool lubricants A family of machine tool coolants and lubricants developed and recently reformulated at Shell's Thornton Research Centre near Chester, UK, was launched at MACH '88 (13-21 April, Birmingham, UK). Shell Soluble Oils SRO, Shell Tonna T and Shell Tellus are refined and blended at the company's new £80 million fuUy automated plant in Stanlow. The SRO family contains a longer-lasting emulsion that eliminates the need for biocide additives. Shell Tonna T is a complementary package for machine tool slides and tables, while Tellus is a hydraulic oil/ machine tool lubricant said to feature outstanding anti-wear reliability, low friction and improved stability. Shell Lubricants UK, Cobden House, Station Road, Cheadle Hulme, Cheadle, Cheshire SK8 5AD, UK.
Reprints of all articles in this journal are available in quantities of 100 or more. Reprints are essential - for the company that wants to distribute impartial comment on its activities to potential customers and clients. for the company that wants to up-date its technical staff on new techniques and new technologies.
For full details of prices and availability of reprints, please write to: T h e R e p r i n t D e p a r t m e n t , B u t t e r w o r t h S c i e n t i f i c L i m i t e d , P O B o x 63, Westbury House, Bury Street, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 5BH.
TR I BO LOGY international