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What Are The Main Causes of Pressure Gauge Failure?

Pressure gauges are important elements of many types of machinery and operations, allowing for pressure to be measured within a space for safety, performance, etc. While pressure gauges are designed to withstand intensive conditions as their job demands it, they cannot withstand every challenging condition, especially those that they are not intended to take on. As such, pressure gauges do run the potential risk of failure, and it is important to know how these failures may come about so that they can best be avoided.

While there are many forms of pressure gauges on the market, the most common rely on Bourdon tube technology for operations. A Bourdon tube is a C-shaped spring element contained within a case, and it is designed to adjust like an equalizing balloon as it is filled with pressurized media. The movement of the tube is directly tracked by a connecting link and end piece within the gauge, those of which then adjust a pointer on the instrument’s dial to denote a measurement.

One of the most common reasons for a pressure gauge to fail is mechanical vibration which can deter accuracy. With vibration, it can be difficult to obtain a precise reading, especially if vibration levels are high. Secondly, vibration can potentially damage the pointer mechanism over a long period of time, eventually causing the pointer to move away from zero, leading to more inaccurate readings. To determine if vibration is an issue, look out for detached pointers, metal files within the gauge window, and other such signs. One solution to vibration is to use a liquid-filled case that dampens movement, though a diaphragm seal may also work if it can remove the gauge from the source of vibration.

Pulsation is similar to vibration, though rather than being prolonged, it involves regular instances of rapid pressure increases and decreases. Pulsation is denoted by pointer fluttering and loose pointers, and it can lead to inaccuracy, increased wear and tear, as well as pressure system failure. To prevent such issues, one should either utilize a liquid-filled case or snubbers that act as restrictors.

Aside from physical forces, extreme temperatures can also cause a variety of issues like inaccuracy and pressure system failure. When a gauge is facing extreme temperatures, one may see a dial or liquid fill that is discolored, often being yellow, orange, brown, or black. Furthermore, the dial or window itself may even be melted. To prevent such issues, it is recommended that one utilizes a diaphragm seal with a capillary so that pressure measurements can be obtained away from the extreme temperatures. Additionally, a cooling adapter may be used with fins that increase surface areas for more radiation and heat dissipation.

If thick, viscous, or high-particulate media is being measured, there is a potential risk of clogging where the system begins to be gummed up. Generally, clogging is indicated by a gauge that presents a reading at or near zero while the system is operating. While clogging surely affects accuracy and overall functionality, it can also lead to overpressure conditions. Similar to other issues, clogging may be prevented with the use of a diaphragm seal, though a flushing port is also quite useful.

Aside from such examples, other issues may result from mishandling equipment, overpressure, pressure spikes, and more. If you ever find yourself in need of parts to protect your pressure gauge or are in the market for replacement components, we have you covered here at Nascent Aero. Take the time to explore over 2 billion items that are listed on our database, all of which can be purchased from us at any time. To request a quote on items of interest, simply fill out and submit an RFQ form as provided on our website, and a member of our staff will reach out to you in 15 minutes or less.


September 27, 2022

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