Inflatable seals are easier to use and more forgiving with misaligned parts than more-common compression seals.
Design checklist for inflatable seals
Engineers specifying seals will get better results if they define requirements and take them to a reputable, custom-seal fabricator early in the design process. Most fabricators are happy to provide technical assistance. And some have wide experience across several industries, so they can offer a wider palette.
Here are the key application elements that should be defined at the outset.
What are you sealing against? Air? Water? Gas? Something else?
Pressure differential across seal
Other environmental factors (UV, particulates, ozone)
Duty cycle: Frequency of inflation, Duration of inflation
Applicable codes and standards
Direction of expansion: radial inward, radial outward or face and axial.
Overall dimensions for active length
Corner radii (if applicable)
Maximum allowable deflated profile