Gates Belts & Applications - Tips and guidelines written by Gates Industrial Engineers

Synchronous Belt Drives in Wet Environments

Thursday, August 15, 2013

posted by Phil at 7:33 AM

Light and occasional contact with water (occasional wash downs) should not seriously affect synchronous belts. Prolonged contact (constant spray or submersion) results in significantly reduced tensile strength in fiberglass belts, and potential length variation in aramid belts. Prolonged contact with water also causes rubber compounds to swell, although less than with oil contact. Internal belt adhesion systems are also gradually broken down with the presence of water. Additives to water such as lubricants, chlorine, anti corrosives, etc. can have a more detrimental effect on the belts than pure water. Urethane timing belts also suffer from water contamination. Polyester tensile cord shrinks significantly and experiences loss of tensile strength in the presence of water. Aramid tensile cord maintains its strength fairly well, but experiences
length variation. Urethane swells more than neoprene in the presence of water. This swelling can increase belt tension significantly causing belt and related hardware problems.

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