Inflatable Seal Design

Design Steps

Designing an inflatable seal involves a thoughtful process that takes into account various factors to ensure optimal performance. From the initial situation analysis to the final selection of materials and connectors, each step is carefully considered to meet the unique requirements of your application. Our expertise lies in understanding the sealing challenges you face and translating them into innovative design solutions. We are able to control everything from the Design to the finished product through our in-house production, allowing us to go from a concept to a finished product in record time. We will to gain valuable insights into the design process and discover how our tailored approach can help you achieve reliable and efficient sealing solutions with inflatable seals.

Situation Analysis

The situation analysis plays a crucial role in the design of inflatable seals, as it involves a comprehensive evaluation of various factors to ensure effective sealing performance.

An AI generated picture of empty jars being filled


One key aspect to consider is the pressure range within the sealing area. Understanding the operating pressure helps determine the appropriate material strength and design considerations to ensure the seal can withstand the required pressure without compromising its integrity


Another important consideration is the nature of the media that the inflatable seal will come into contact with. Different media, such as gases, liquids, or abrasive substances, may require specific material choices to maintain chemical compatibility and prevent degradation or corrosion.

Operating Lifespan

The anticipated number of cycles or operating lifespan is another aspect to evaluate. Understanding the expected frequency and duration of inflation and deflation cycles helps determine the durability requirements for the seal, ensuring it can withstand repeated use over time.


The environmental conditions surrounding the sealing area are also significant considerations. For instance, if the environment is characterized by rough surfaces, contaminants, or extreme temperatures, it may influence material selection, surface treatments, or the need for additional protective measures to maintain sealing performance.

Shape Selection

When selecting the shape of an inflatable seal, it is important to consider the following factors:

The choice of shape should be based on the specific requirements of the application. Consider the geometry of the sealing area, the functionality required, and the desired compression and sealing characteristics. By selecting the appropriate shape, the inflatable seal can effectively conform to the mating surfaces and provide an optimal seal for the intended application.

A 3D render of a rectangular profile.
A 3D render of a circular profile.
A 3D render of a straight.

Material Choice

When it comes to selecting materials for inflatable seals, several options are available, including EPDM, silicone, NBR (nitrile rubber), FKM and fabric-reinforced materials. Each material offers unique characteristics suitable for different sealing requirements:


EPDM is a mechanically strong & tear resilient. It is known for its excellent weather resistance, ozone resistance. Making it an ideal material in outdoor environments and applications.


Silicone is known for its excellent flexibility and resistance to both high and low temperatures, silicone inflatable gaskets are commonly incorporated in food machine production lines, luxury yachts & the pharmaceutical industry


NBR is known for its excellent sealing performance and lifespan in oil based environments. Its resilience and ability to withstand petroleum-based fluids and oils make NBR seals reliable for sealing applications in the oil and gas industry and industrial machinery.

Fabric Reinforced

Inflatable seals incorporating fabric reinforcement offer enhanced strength, stability, and tear resistance. The reinforcement provides added structural support, making them suitable for demanding environments that require increased durability.


A 3D render of an axial.

Radial Out

A 3D render of a radial-out.

Radial In

a 3D render of a radial-in.

Expansion Direction

The expansion direction of inflatable seals is a crucial consideration that impacts their sealing performance in different applications. There are three primary expansion directions to consider: axial, radial in, and radial out.

Profile Configuration

Profile configuration is a critical aspect of inflatable seal design. It involves shaping and designing the cross-section or profile of the seal. The profile configuration plays a significant role in determining the seal’s ability to effectively seal and resist leakage. By designing an appropriate profile, inflatable seals can adapt well to mating surfaces, minimize gaps, and maintain optimal sealing pressure. This results in improved sealing performance and prevents any undesired fluid or gas leakage, making inflatable seals a dependable solution for a wide range of applications.

  1. Gap: The gap dimension refers to the space between the two sealing surfaces that the inflatable seal needs to bridge. This dimension determines the required expansion and compression of the seal to create a proper seal.

  2. H1 (Height/Depth of the groove): H1 represents the height or depth of the groove in which the inflatable seal will be placed. This dimension ensures that the seal fits securely within the groove.

  3. H2 (Depth of the groove until the opposing sealing surface): H2 is the sum of H1 and the gap. It represents the total depth of the groove, from the initial contact point to the opposing sealing surface.

  4. W1 (Width of the groove): W1 refers to the width of the groove, which determines the overall size and geometry of the sealing area. This dimension influences the shape and dimensions of the inflatable seal to ensure proper fitting and effective sealing.

A technical drawing of profile configuration.

Profile Types

Inflatable seals are versatile solutions designed to meet a wide range of sealing needs. Each seal type offers unique features tailored to specific applications, pressures, and environments. With options for customization in shape, material, and construction, these seals provide reliable performance across various scenarios. For a detailed understanding of each seal type and to find the best fit for your requirements, please visit the specific pages dedicated to each seal profile.

Selecting Air Connector(s)

Air connectors are an integral component of every inflatable seal we produce at AST. They serve as the critical interface between the seal and its operational environment or system. When selecting an air connector, several factors come into play, including the material. Options such as brass, aluminum, stainless steel 304, stainless steel 316, or an elastomer hose each offer their own unique advantages and potential drawbacks.

At AST, we understand that every application is unique, and therefore, we leverage our in-house machining and extrusion capabilities to create custom air connectors. Whether you require a one-off connector for a specific project or a series of connectors for a broader application, we are equipped to deliver solutions tailored to your precise needs. This commitment to customization and quality ensures that our inflatable seals perform optimally in their intended applications.