The European Sealing Association has been following with interest the on-going discussion regarding aircraft cabin air contamination, particularly the engine oils leaking past the seals into the aircraft air supply.

You may recall that ESA’s President John Morton was a co-author on a very informative 2018 published paper [1] that in part focussed on raising awareness that dynamic seals will leak very low levels in normal operation. This appears to be something that the aviation industry has tended not to focus on, and we believe that as seal manufacturers, we have a voice that can help highlight this issue and the need to be brought in earlier in the design phase.

In 2017 John Morton spoke at the 1st Aircraft Cabin Air International Conference at Imperial College London. He shared the platform with Dr Susan Michaelis, who has spoken at our meetings and seal conferences over the past several years on her work investigating how oil can leak out of the bearing chambers into the aircraft air supply.

John Morton co-presenting at the 2017 Aircraft Cabin Air International Conference, London.

This was a very successful conference and therefore ESA has been asked once again to endorse the 2019 Aircraft Cabin Air Conference, being held at the same venue. One of our members has been asked to attend the conference on a complimentary basis to represent the ESA and therefore show our support for this work.

The 2019 Aircraft Cabin Air Conference

The 2 day conference [2] being held at Imperial College London on 17-18 September 2019, will be an excellent networking opportunity for those seeking to understand the subject of contaminated air, the flight safety implications, the latest scientific and medical evidence investigating the contaminated air debate and the solutions available to airlines and aircraft operators. This international conference mapping the business, regulatory and technical solutions to cabin air contamination, will be the most in-depth conference ever held on this topic.

Dr Michaelis will be speaking on the regulatory implications of extracting the cabin breathing air supply unfiltered from the compressor stage of the engine. The compressor pressurised air also is used to seal the bearing chambers, generally with mechanical face seals or labyrinth seals. As sealing professionals, we understand that this will allow very low levels of oil or fluid to leak past the seals in normal operations. The focus by many has been on the rarer failure conditions and as such ESAs interest in this area should help people think about advances in sealing technology as one of the possible ways forward.

Source: ExxonMovil (2016) – Jet Engine Oil System – Part One And Two, ExxonMobil Aviation Tech Topics.

Discount for ESA members

ESA members have kindly been offered a 20% discount for those wishing to attend the conference. Please help spread the word about this very important event. We all travel in aircraft on a personal or work basis and therefore this topic should interest us all. Contact Mark Neal for the code to use during registration for the 20% discount.

If you have further questions, please contact the conference organizers at

  1. Howard CV, Johnson DW, Morton J, Michaelis S, Supplee D, et al. (2018) Is a Cumulative Exposure to a Background Aerosol of Nanoparticles Part of the Causal Mechanism of Aerotoxic Syndrome? J Nanomed Nanosci: JNAN-139. DOI: 10.29011/JNAN-139. 100039. Retrieved from URL.
  1. 2019 Aircraft Cabin Air International Conference: