Electronic connectors, no matter the type, are not always going to be used in applications with a stable environment — especially when it comes to military, aerospace, and industrial applications. Rain, ice, snow, and dust present in such conditions must be kept out of the connector to ensure reliable operation. To make matters even more challenging, the connectors may be exposed to such harsh environments while also experiencing extreme pressures and temperatures. These types of situations call for a unique solution — hermetically sealed connectors.
How Hermetically Sealed Connectors Work
Hermetically sealed connectors are designed to prevent gases (including air) and liquids from entering the electronic connector. To be considered hermetically sealed, a connector must show no detectable fluid or gas leakage during testing. Their purpose is to thrive in harsh, aggressive conditions that would cripple any other type of connector.
Hermetically sealed connectors include a highly engineered sealing technology, with a common glass-to-metal solution approach that provides additional protection in environments with extreme pressures and temperatures. In glass-sealed connectors, the glass creates a rigid form for the metal shell to compress against, thus creating a hermetic seal via the compression. The glass portion of the connector, which can also be replaced with high-performance ceramics, is bonded to and supports the contacts.
Hermetically Sealed Connectors for Harsh Environments
Hermetically sealed connectors are ideal for extremely harsh environments that can include severe weather, extreme temperatures and temperature changes, and high altitude conditions. Most hermetically sealed connectors have been designed to withstand high pressures of 10 ksi or more, which ensures a stable pressure differential on both sides of the connector assembly. They can also handle low pressures, even into the vacuum range. Other hermetically sealed connectors can be found that are commonly designed to handle temperatures varying from cryogenic levels at -100°C to high temperatures up to 200°C.
Hermetic connectors are used in a variety of different markets, including military applications (UAVs, submarines, unmanned ground vehicles), commercial applications (satellites, aircraft), medical devices, industrial applications, and petroleum applications (oil-patch logging equipment). More specifically, hermetically sealed connectors can be found on off-road vehicles, earthmoving equipment, power generators, railroad equipment, telecommunications, engines, and ships.
However, hermetically sealed connectors aren’t just for military and aerospace applications, but provide the sealing, performance, and cost-effectiveness that most designs require. With a higher demand for these connectors as they become increasingly common in the commercial realm, it is important to be aware of the options that meet these ordinary challenges.
Hermetically Sealed Connector Solutions
Specifying the right hermetically sealed connector for your application can be difficult since there are a multitude of style options available to choose from. However, there are a few different style options from industry leading manufacturers to help guide you in the right direction, including certain series of DEUTSCH circular connectors, Amphenol PT connectors, and SOURIAU 8D connectors.
The DEUTSCH DTS Connector Series (MIL-DTL-38999 Series III) is principally designed for use in military and aerospace applications but are also applicable to many commercial applications. These connectors offer hermetically sealed styles and are EN3645 specification qualified and meet stringent MIL-DTL-38999 Series III specifications. DEUTSCH DTS connectors are quick-mating, triple-lead threaded, and have a self-locking coupling. They are also EMI/RFI-shielded and provide scoop-proof contact protection. A variety of D38999 backshells are also available for a complete connector solution.
Amphenol PT connectors (MIL-DTL-26482 Series I) are hermetically sealed connectors that provide quick-disconnect bayonet coupling for rapid mating and unmating, as well as several mounting styles and shell sizes. Amphenol PT connectors’ liquid-tight assembly is made possible by a resilient neoprene insulator and an integrated rear wire sealing grommet. Hermetically sealed Amphenol 26482 connector receptacles have fused compression glass inserts and are available in different styles.
The SOURIAU 8D hermetic 38999 Series III connectors go beyond typical water sealing capabilities, as demonstrated by their leak rate of less than 10-7 atm cm3/s under helium. These connectors include a glass-fused insert to resistant major pressure differences (even when unmated) and high-temperature variations, all within a robust stainless steel housing. These SOURIAU 8D connectors are compliant with MIL-DTL-38999 and are ideal for applications including vacuum pumps, high tech cameras, and flowmeters.
PEI-Genesis: Your Source for Hermetically Sealed Connectors
From cryogenics to extreme pressure to high temperatures, specifying the ideal connector solution that meets these challenging environments can be the biggest challenge of all. At PEI-Genesis, we understand the challenges faced by engineering and manufacturing teams when it comes time to identify a reliable, rugged, cost-effective hermetically sealed connector that meets the necessary specification requirements. Our team of interconnect specialists will work with you to find the best solution to meet your needs, whether it is an off-the-shelf product or a custom design.