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Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company Ltd

Job Training
Technician Course

Module 6

Gland Packing

ADGAS Personnel & Training Division

Personnel & Training Division Job Training—Mechanical Technician

Page No.

Abbreviations and Terminology................................................. 4

1 Introduction ………………………………………………………….. 5

2 Types of Packing......................................................................... 7

2.1 Compression Packing...................................................... 8

2.1.1 Construction........................................................... 9

2.1.2 Materials.................................................................. 11

2.2 Hydraulic Packing............................................................. 13

3 Packing-gland Assemblies......................................................... 15

3.1 Internal Gland Sealing...................................................... 18

3.2 External Gland Sealing..................................................... 19

4 Packing Installation..................................................................... 20

4.1 Removing Old Packing..................................................... 21

4.2 Measuring and Cutting New Packing.............................. 22

4.3 Fitting New Packing.......................................................... 27

5 Summary...................................................................................... 30

6 Glossary....................................................................................... 31

Exercises 1- 4............................................................................... 32

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Personnel & Training Division Job Training—Mechanical Technician

Completion of A.T.I. Maintenance Programme, ADGAS Induction

Course and Basic Maintenance Technician Course.

The Job Training Mechanical Technician Course is the second

phase of the development programme. It is intended specifically
Objectives for Mechanical Maintenance Developees.
On completion of the Course the developee will have acquired an
awareness of some of the equipment, terminology, and procedures
related to mechanical maintenance of ADGAS LNG plant.
Appropriate safety procedures will continue to be stressed at all

On completion of this module, the developee will be able to

correctly :
• state the purpose of packing
• identify the parts of a packing-gland assembly
• identify three main types of packing gland assembly
• identify packing material and construction
• remove and install valve and pump packing

The above will be achieved through the following:

• pre-test
• classroom instruction
• audio visual support
• tasks & exercises
• post-test

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Abbreviations and Terminology

Atmospheric pressure The pressure of the air around us.

Chevron A V-shape.
Crimped Thin material (usually metal), folded and crushed to permanently
deform it.
Discharge side The outlet side of a pump or compressor.
(Packing) Gland Assembly of gland casing, follower and packing.
Laminated In layers.
Lantern ring An addition to the gland assembly that introduces and distributes
liquid part-way along the packing. This improves lubrication, cooling
and sealing.
Mandrel A shaft on which items can be temporarily mounted.
Process fluid Fluid (liquid or gas) that is being changed (cooled; compressed; etc.)
as it passes through a system: LNG, water, steam, etc.
Run-in The initial operation of a new machine or component when clearances
might be a little tight and more heat than normal caused by friction.
A machine is run with little or no load and monitored during the run-
in period.
Sealing liquid Liquid introduced into a seal at a pressure that is higher than that of
the atmosphere and of the process fluid. It stops process fluid leaking
out and air leaking in.
Staggered Not in line, but usually following a repeated pattern to either side of a
Stuffing box The space inside a packing gland where the packing rings are located.
Suction side The inlet side of a pump or compressor.
Throat bushing A plain bush at the bottom of the stuffing box having a clearance fit
on the shaft. It forms a stop for the packing and reduces solid
particles entering the stuffing box.

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Personnel & Training Division Job Training—Mechanical Technician

1 Introduction

In the last module of this course (Gaskets) you learnt that gaskets are a type of static
seal. They form leak-proof joints between surfaces that do not move relative to each

Here, dynamic
In this module you will learn about the simplest type of dynamic seal. means moving.

Packing glands control the leakage of fluid from around rotating and sliding shafts.
They are a type of dynamic seal that is often used on pump shafts or rods, and valve

The parts of a basic packing gland are:

• gland casing or housing—may be part of a pump or valve casting

• stuffing box—the space inside the gland where packing is fitted

• throat bushing—reduces solid particles in the fluid entering the stuffing box;
may be part of the gland casing or a separate insert

• packing—material, usually in the form of rings, that makes the seal

• gland follower—compresses the packing so that it rubs on the shaft

These parts are shown in Figure 1.1.

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Throat bushing Packing rings (5)

in stuffing box

Gland follower

side of

Shaft can slide or


Gland casing

Figure 1.1: Parts of a Basic Gland Assembly

Packing does two jobs:

• controls fluid leakage

• prevents any dirt etc., from entering the fluid

The follower must be tightened correctly for the gland to work properly:

• too tight and the packing grips the shaft, making it difficult to slide or turn and
causing excessive wear Excessive means too much

• too loose and their will be excessive leakage

Figure 1.2 shows a packing gland fitted to an item of plant.


Figure 1.2: External View of Packing Gland

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2 Types of Packing

Tough, rope-like packing material made from natural fibres has Fibres are thin lengths
of material, like hairs.
been used to seal shafts for many years. The packing material
may come in rings of different sizes, to fit the shaft and stuffing box. It also comes in
long lengths that you cut to form rings that fit around the shaft.

Fibre materials are wound or braided in different ways to Braided fibres are wrapped
around each other into a
give them different properties. Figure 2.1 shows a typical rope-like form.

piece of braided fibre packing material.

Figure 2.1: Braided or Plaited Packing

Note: Sometimes the word plaited is used instead of braided. These words have the
same meaning.

Packing may also be made of metal, rubber or polymers (often PTFE).

There are two main types of packing:

• compression packing

• hydraulic packing

It is very important to use the correct packing for each application. Packing for
ADGAS applications is specified in the ADGAS Design and Material Specification.

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2.1 Compression Packing

Compression packing does not stop leaks. It reduces leaks to an Something is acceptable
when it is good enough to
acceptable minimum. meet requirements.

Tightening down the gland follower compresses the packing, making it shorter and
fatter. The packing then presses against the shaft and the inside of the stuffing box. If
the follower compresses the packing too much, the shaft is difficult to turn and wears
quickly. This is made worse if the packing is dry.

Compression gland packing needs a small flow of liquid to help lubricate and cool it.
Because of this, some liquid must leak along the shaft for the gland to work properly.
You should be able to see a few drips coming from this type of gland.

The construction and material of the packing used for any application depends on:

• fluid being contained

• fluid pressure

• fluid temperature

• shaft speed

Only use the packing recommended in the ADGAS Specification or by the equipment

Compression packing can come in rolls, to be cut to length, pre-formed rings or tape.
These forms of supply are shown in Figure 2.2.

(a) On the Roll (b) Die-formed Rings (c) Tape—Usually Graphite or PTFE

Figure 2.2: Compression Packing —Forms of Supply

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2.1.1 Construction

Braided packing is the most common type. It can be braided in different ways and
may be loosely or tightly braided. Tighter braiding lasts longer and the follower does
not need to be tightened down so much. Some of the ways that packing can be
braided are shown in Figure 2.3.

(a) Square-braid: quite a loosely braided packing—fibres

are first twisted, the twists are braided, then pressed into a
square section

(b) Interlock-braid: a tightly braided packing—braiding is

more complex; also pressed into a square section

(c) Braid-over-braid: layers of braided

packing over a central core of material

Figure 2.3: Braided Fibre Packing

A simpler construction of fibre packing is twisting. Twisted packing is shown in

Figure 2.4. Fibres are also twisted before braiding in Figure 2.3(a) above.

Figure 2.4: Twisted Fibre Packing

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Packing made of non-fibre materials may be:

• solid—(Fig. 2.5(a))

• laminated— (Fig. 2.5(b))

• wrapped—(Fig. 2.5(c))

• spiral wound—(Fig. 2.5(d))

• crimped—thin metal sheet, folded and pressed tightly together (Fig. 2.5(e))

(a) Sold (b) Laminated (c) Wrapped

(d) Spiral Wound (e) Crimped

Figure 2.5: Non-fibre Packing Construction

Many of these types of packing can be formed around a central core of a different
material and construction: e.g. braided over a steel core, crimped over a fibre core.

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2.1.2 Materials

Compression packing is traditionally made of natural fibres, e.g. cotton, asbestos.

Asbestos fibres have been the most common material for high-temperature
applications but they are being replaced by synthetic (man-made) fibres.

Asbestos fibres are a health hazard. Handle them with care and avoid
breathing in asbestos fibres and dust.

Table 2.1 gives a guide to the materials that are suitable for different applications. In
the plant, always use the material specified in the ADGAS Design and Material

Fluid Packing Material

Clear water; hot or cold sewage; slurries; calcium Braided white asbestos or cotton with general-
brine; neutral liquids (not acid or alkali). service lubricant.
Maximum temperature 212oF

Clear hot or cold water; neutral liquids. Braided special white asbestos with a high-
o temperature lubricant. Graphited.
Maximum temperature 400 F

Acids. Braided blue African asbestos with acid-resisting

o lubricant. Graphited.
Maximum temperature 250 F

Alkalis. Braided white asbestos with non-saponifiable

o (non-soapy) lubricant. Graphited.
Maximum temperature 250 F

Where metallic packing is preferred for hot or Crimped lead-foil sheets with asbestos core.
cold water, mild acids, mild alkalis, brine, boiler
feed water.
Maximum temperature 450oF where suction
pressure is greater than 50 p.s.i.

Alkalis and other liquids with pH above 7. Teflon® (PTFE)-filled braided white asbestos.
Temperatures from 90 to 450oF

Acids with pH of 4 or less. Teflon®-filled braided blue asbestos.

Temperatures from 90 to 450oF

Table 2.1: Packing Applications

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Controlled leakage of fluid past the packing lubricates and cools the shaft during

Packing may be filled with a lubricant during manufacture. This improves sealing
and reduces shaft wear. This is especially important for pump packing. Leakage-
lubrication is only effective during normal operation of the pump. On start-up, there
may be little or no leakage to lubricate the shaft.

Braided fibre packing can contain liquid or solid lubricants. A common solid
lubricant is graphite: a form of carbon also used in some gaskets.

Graphite is black and most graphite-filled packing is also black. Figure 2.6 shows an
example of graphite-filled (or graphite-impregnated), braided packing rings.

Figure 2.6: Graphite-impregnated Braided Packing

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2.2 Hydraulic Packing

Hydraulic packing is used where no leakage of fluid is acceptable. It is most

commonly used for hydraulic and pneumatic equipment, e.g. control valves, but can
be used for other applications.

The most common type of hydraulic packing is V-ring or chevron packing. It is made
of rubber or polymer materials. Figure 2.7 shows a set of V-packing rings with male
and female adapters at top and bottom. The male is located at the bottom of the
stuffing box.




Fluid pressure

Figure 2.7: Chevron or V-type Packing Rings

Hydraulic packing does not allow leakage along the shaft.

Fluid pressure pushes on the fluid side of the male adapter and V-rings. This opens
the Vs, pushing the edges against the shaft and stuffing box. The greater the pressure,
the more the V-rings push against the shaft and the better the seal.

In some applications a spring fits between the throat bushing and the bottom ring
(male adapter). This seals the V-rings before fluid pressure builds up.

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Three different arrangements of V-ring packing glands are shown in Figure 2.8.

Spacer Spring

Fluid pressure Fluid pressure Fluid pressure

(a) Standard Bolted (b) Externally Threaded (c) Internally Threaded

Gland Follower Gland Follower and Spacer Gland Follower with
Spring-loaded Packing

Figure 2.8: V-ring Packing Glands

These glands are not adjusted by tightening the gland follower. The length of the
stuffing box is fixed to take a certain number of packing rings. A spacer can be fitted
as shown in Figure 2.8(b).

Gland followers can by screwed directly on to a threaded gland casing as shown in

Figure 2.8(b) and (c).

Now try Exercise 1

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3 Packing-gland Assemblies

The simplest gland assembly is shown in Figure 3.1.

Leakage of
process fluid to

Process fluid

Figure 3.1: Simple, Solid-packed Gland

This arrangement is used where the fluid being contained (the Something is permissible
when it is all right for it to
process fluid) is a liquid that can safely lubricate the packing and happen—it is permitted.

where leakage is permissible. It is called a solid- packed gland.

Process fluid only leaks out to the surrounding air if its pressure is higher than the
pressure of the air. Pressure of the surrounding air is called atmospheric pressure.

Fluid always flows from a high pressure to a lower pressure.

Many pumps work with the pressure at the intake, or suction side, below atmospheric
pressure. If the pressure inside the gland is less than the pressure outside, liquid will
not leak out, but air will leak in. If air is sucked into a pump it will not work properly.

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Lantern rings, shown in Figure 3.2, form part of a system that stops air entering the

Sealing liquid


Figure 3.2: Gland with Lantern Ring

The lantern ring distributes fluid around the shaft from a position part way along the
packing. It has grooves around the inside and outside that are connected by holes.
Lantern rings are usually made of brass or plastic.

Fluid enters the stuffing box through a hole in the gland casing. This fluid is called
the sealing liquid. The hole in the gland casing lines up with one of the holes in the
lantern ring.

The pressure of the sealing fluid is higher than the process fluid pressure and
atmospheric pressure. The higher-pressure sealing liquid flows from the lantern ring
to both lower-pressure areas, as shown in Figure 3.3.

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Liquid entering lantern

ring at pressure higher
than atmospheric

Liquid leakage past Liquid leakage past

packing to pump suction packing to atmosphere

Lantern ring

Figure 3.3: Sealing Liquid Flow from Lantern Ring

The sealing liquid:

• lubricates the shaft

• cools the shaft and the packing

• keeps air out of the pump

• keeps process liquid out of the gland (and in the pump)

The sealing liquid may be:

• process liquid taken directly from the pump discharge

• process liquid that has been cleaned after leaving the pump discharge

• other liquid that can safely mix with the process liquid in the pump

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3.1 Internal Gland Sealing

In many cases the sealing liquid can come directly from the high-pressure discharge
side of the pump. This type of sealing is called internal sealing as the sealing liquid
comes directly from inside the pump. Figure 3.4 shows an internally sealed gland on
a centrifugal pump.

Sealing fluid from pump discharge

discharge side

Pump casing

Gland follower
Pump impeller

suction side

Lantern ring

Figure 3.4: Internally Sealed Gland

Sometimes, the process fluid contains sand, grit or other solid particles that would
damage the shaft.

In this case, the sealing liquid must be cleaned before entering the gland packing.
Liquid from the pump discharge passes through a filter or separator before being
returned to the gland.

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3.2 External Gland Sealing

Sometimes, the process fluid is hazardous, or should not be allowed to leak out for
other reasons. The sealing liquid can not then be taken from the pump. A different
liquid is used that can safely mix with the process fluid. This is called external
sealing as the sealing liquid comes from outside the pump. Figure 3.5 shows an
externally sealed gland.

Sealing fluid from external

source at above suction
and atmospheric pressure

discharge side

Pump casing

Gland follower

Pump impeller

suction side

Lantern ring Packing

Figure 3.5: Externally Sealed Gland

Now try Exercise 2

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4 Packing Installation

To replace the packing in a gland:

1. follow ADGAS procedures to isolate and lock-out the equipment you are
going to work on

2. remove the old packing

3. clean the stuffing box and shaft

4. measure for new packing

5. cut packing to fit shaft and stuffing box

6. fit new packing

Old packing can be difficult to get out and replace without the correct tools. You
must make sure that you do not damage the shaft or the stuffing box by using the
wrong tools. Also make sure that the new packing is seated correctly at the end of the
stuffing box.

Some of the main points of the process and the special tools needed are described in
this section.

Obtain the necessary Permit to Work and correctly follow

ADGAS lock-out procedures before starting work.

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4.1 Removing Old Packing

When you have removed the gland follower you can start removing the old packing.
Old packing can become hard when it is compressed during service. There are several
tools that can help you extract the old packing. Figure 4.1 To extract something
is to remove it or take it
shows examples of some of these. out.

Hook tip

Worm tip

Screw tip

Brush tip

(a) Flexible Extractors (b) Removable Tips for Flexible Extractors

(c) Rigid Extractors

Figure 4.1: Packing Extraction Tools

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Extractors come in different shapes and with different ends. Some are rigid (they do
not bend) and others are flexible (they do bend).

Those with a screw or worm end can screw into the old packing. They grip the
packing so you can pull it out. Sharp ends have a plastic coating on the tip to stop
them scratching the shaft or stuffing box.

When you have removed the packing rings, and the lantern ring if fitted, clean the
shaft and stuffing box. Make sure that you remove all pieces of old packing before
fitting new packing. Inspect the shaft for signs of damage and wear.

4.2 Measuring and Cutting New Packing

Before fitting new packing, make sure that you know what size packing you need and
how many rings to fit.

The thickness of each packing ring depends on the shaft and stuffing box diameters.
These dimensions are shown in Figure 4.2.

Stuffing box



Shaft Packing Packing

diameter thickness thickness

Stuffing box diameter

Figure 4.2: Packing Thickness Dimensions

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You can measure the gap between the shaft and the stuffing-box wall directly with a
steel rule. This method is usually accurate enough for compressible packing.

For greater accuracy, measure the shaft and stuffing box diameters.

You can see from Figure 4.2 that:

stuffing box ID – shaft OD = two thicknesses of packing

packing thickness = ½ (stuffing box ID – shaft OD)

For example: Stuffing box ID = 85mm; Shaft OD = 65mm

Thickness of packing needed = ½ ( 85 – 65) = 10mm

If you use packing off the roll, the packing thickness is the dimension shown in
Figure 4.3.


Figure 4.3: Packing Thickness off the Roll

Wrap the packing around the shaft in the same direction that it is wrapped around the

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The number of packing rings you need depends on the length of the stuffing box and
the width of the packing.

You can measure the length of the stuffing box directly if there is enough space to get
a small steel rule inside. If not, push a length of wire to the bottom and mark where
the wire meets the face of the stuffing box with your thumb. Then measure from the
end of the wire to your thumb. Figure 4.4 shows the dimensions you need.

Length reading on
rule or location of

Rule or wire

Length of
stuffing box



Figure 4.4: Finding Number of Rings

Now calculate how many whole ring-widths you can get into the stuffing box length:

number of rings = length of stuffing box ÷ packing width

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For example: Packing width = 10mm; Length of stuffing box = 55mm

Number of rings needed = 55 ÷ 10 = 5.5

You can not fit 5½ rings. The greatest number of whole rings you can fit is 5.

If the gland has a lantern ring you must subtract the width of the lantern ring from the
length of the stuffing box before making the calculation shown above.

For example: Packing width = 10mm; Length of stuffing box = 55mm

Lantern ring width = 8mm (see Fig. 4.5)

8mm 10mm


Figure 4.5: Number of Rings When Lantern Ring is Fitted

Length of stuffing box available for packing = 55mm – 8mm = 47mm

Number of rings needed = 47 ÷ 10 = 4.7

The greatest number of whole rings you can fit is 4.

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If you use packing off the roll, you will have to cut it to length. Get the correct length
for each ring by wrapping the packing around a mandrel of the same diameter as the
shaft in the gland. A mandrel is a shaft that is used to mount other items on. Figure
4.6 shows two ways of cutting packing on a mandrel.

Packing wound
around mandrel


(a) Butt Joint (b) Skive Joint

Figure 4.6: Cutting Packing

Wind the packing around the mandrel enough times to give you the correct number of
whole rings needed for the stuffing box. You would get two whole rings from the
packing in Figure 4.6(a).

• Butt joints are cut straight across, perpendicular to the mandrel axis.

• Skive joints are cut at 45o to the mandrel axis—they give better sealing.

Cut through the packing cleanly with a sharp knife. This gives you separate rings to
fit into the stuffing box.

Do not use the shaft you are sealing instead of a mandrel. You will
damage the shaft surface with the knife blade when you cut.

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4.3 Fitting New Packing

When you have cleaned the stuffing box and made sure that the shaft is not damaged
or worn you can start to fit the new packing.

If the gland has a lantern ring, you must decide how many rings to fit before you fit
the lantern ring. The lantern ring must be located where the sealing-liquid line enters
the gland.

Measure the distance from the outside end of the stuffing box to the nearest side of the
sealing-liquid line: dimension A in Figure 4.7. This distance is about the same as the
distance from the outer side of the lantern ring to the end of the stuffing box:
dimension B in Figure 4.7. Both dimensions are 27mm in this example.

27mm Dimension A

Dimension B


Figure 4.7: Locating the Lantern Ring

You can now calculate how many packing rings to fit after fitting the lantern ring.

27 ÷ 10 = 2.7

The greatest number of whole rings you can fit after the lantern ring is 2.

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Subtract this from the total number of rings. This gives you the number of rings to fit
before fitting the lantern ring.


So: fit 2 packing rings first—then fit the lantern ring—then the final two rings.

This locates the lantern ring correctly to receive and distribute the sealing liquid.

Push each packing ring into the stuffing box with a split bushing that fits around the
shaft and into the stuffing box. This makes sure that the packing is seated correctly at
the bottom of the stuffing box or next to the last ring you fitted. Figure 4.8 shows a
split bushing.

Figure 4.8: Split Bushing

If the packing rings have butt or skive joints, make sure that the joints are staggered.
Staggered joints do not line up. Joints that line up give a straight path for process
fluid or sealing fluid to pass through. It will not soak through the packing gradually
but flows through the joints too quickly. The location of the joints depends on how
many rings there are next to each other:

• two rings—locate the joints 180o apart

• three rings—locate the joints 120o apart

• four rings or more—90o apart

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Figure 4.9 shows these joint locations for different numbers of rings in a set.

st st st
1 joint 1 joint 1 joint

th rd
4 joint 3 joint

rd nd
3 joint 2 joint

nd nd
2 joint 2 joint

(a) Two-ring Set (b) Three-ring Set (c) Four or More Rings

Figure 4.9: Staggered Packing-ring Joints

Treat packing sets on either side of a lantern ring separately. If there are two rings
before the lantern ring and three after, stagger the joints as shown in Figure 4.9(a) for
the first two rings and Figure 4.9(b) for the last three.

When all the packing rings are in place, replace the gland follower. Finger-tighten the
nuts, then tighten them evenly, just enough to compress the packing a little. This
allows extra leakage when the pump starts and gives the packing plenty of lubrication
while it is running-in.

Once the packing is run-in, tighten the gland to allow the correct amount of leakage.

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Now try Exercises 3 and 4

5 Summary

In this module you have looked at the most simple types of dynamic seal. Packing
glands are used to seal valve stems and the shafts of simple pumps and compressors.
Most packing glands are designed to allow some leakage to lubricate and cool the
packing and shaft.

You have learnt the importance of using the correct packing material for the job and
only to use the packing specified in the ADGAS Design and Material Specifications.

In a later module in this course you will learn about the more complex seals needed
on pumps and compressors where no leakage of process fluid can be allowed.

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6 Glossary

Here are some words used in this module that might be new to you. You will find
these words in coloured italics in the notes. There is a short definition in a box near
the word in the notes.

First Part of
Word Meaning Example of Use
Used on Speech
Excessive 6 adjective Too much. If you uses excessive force
when tightening a bolt you
may strip the thread.

Permissible 15 adjective Permitted— It is only permissible to

something that is smoke in certain ‘safe’
allowed. areas in the plant.

Fibre(s) 7 noun Material in the form Many modern light-weight

of strands, like hairs materials contain carbon
fibres to give strength.

Extract 21 verb To take out. My tooth hurts and I am

afraid that the dentist will
want to extract it.

Dynamic 5 adjective Involving force and He is a very dynamic

motion. In this person, he is always on the
context: moving. move.

Braided 7 adjective Describes a method The girl had long hair that
of twisting and she braided when she was
weaving fibres into working.
a length. Also

Acceptable 8 adjective Something that Your work is acceptable

meets minimum but I am sure that you
requirements. could do a lot more.

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