Stuffing box

Stuffing box

A stuffing box is an assembly which is used to house a gland seal.[1] It is used to prevent leakage of fluid, such as water or steam, between sliding or turning parts of machine elements.




A stuffing box, or packing gland, is used around a propeller shaft at the point it exits a boat's hull underwater. It is the most common method for preventing water from entering the hull while still allowing the propeller shaft to turn.

In a conventional stuffing box, the seal itself is provided by packing rings, or a square cross-sectioned rope, made of greased flax, which is packed or wound tightly around the propeller shaft, and compressed in place with a threaded nut and spacer. The box may also be fitted with an opening for periodic insertion of grease between the rings, and sometimes with a small grease reservoir.

A stuffing box packed with flax rings is designed to leak a small amount of water, a few drops per minute, when the shaft is turning; this helps keep it lubricated. This amount of leakage is seldom a problem. Dripless seals, like a mechanical face seal, or lip seal use materials more technologically advanced than flax. The more successful dripless seals are made from Carbon or PTFE (Teflon).

More modern 'stuffing boxes' are usually attached with hose clamps to a short piece of heavy-duty rubber hose, which is then clamped around the propeller opening in the boat's hull.

A rod coming out of a stuffing box on a steam engine.

Steam engines

In a steam engine, where the piston rod reciprocates through the cylinder cover, a stuffing box provided in the cylinder cover prevents the leakage of steam from the cylinder

See also


  1. ^ Volk, Michael (2005). Pump Characteristics and Applications. Washington: Taylor & Francis. pp. 333–334. ISBN 9780824727550. 

Further reading

  • Calder, Nigel (2005). Boatowner's mechanical and electrical manual. Camden, Maine: International Marine/McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-143238-8

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Stuffing box — Stuffing Stuff ing, n. 1. That which is used for filling anything; as, the stuffing of a saddle or cushion. [1913 Webster] 2. (Cookery) Any seasoning preparation used to stuff meat; especially, a composition of bread, condiments, spices, etc.;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • stuffing box — n. a chamber that holds packing tightly around a moving part, as a piston rod, boat propeller shaft, etc., to prevent leakage of fluid along the part …   English World dictionary

  • stuffing-box — (steu fin gh boks ) s. m. Se dit, dans les machines à vapeur, des pièces destinées à intercepter la communication entre deux milieux dans lesquels se meut une tige. On emploie quelquefois pour les pompes le stuffing box. ÉTYMOLOGIE    Angl.… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • stuffing box — noun a small chamber in which packing is compressed around a reciprocating shaft or piston to form a seal • Syn: ↑packing box • Hypernyms: ↑chamber • Part Meronyms: ↑stuffing nut, ↑packing nut …   Useful english dictionary

  • stuffing box — /ˈstʌfɪŋ bɒks/ (say stufing boks) noun a contrivance for securing a steamtight, airtight, or watertight joint at the place or hole where a movable rod (as a piston rod) enters a vessel, consisting typically of a cylindrical box or chamber through …   Australian English dictionary

  • stuffing box — noun Date: 1798 a device that prevents leakage along a moving part (as a connecting rod) passing through a hole in a vessel (as a cylinder) containing steam, water, or oil and that consists of a box or chamber made by enlarging the hole and a… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • stuffing box — stuff′ing box n. mac a device for preventing leakage of gases or liquids along a moving rod or shaft at the point at which it leaves a cylinder, tank, ship hull, etc Also called gland II, 2) Etymology: 1790–1800 …   From formal English to slang

  • stuffing box — Mach. a device for preventing leakage of gases or liquids along a moving rod or shaft at the point at which it leaves a cylinder, tank, ship hull, etc. Also called gland. [1790 1800] * * * …   Universalium

  • stuffing box — enclosure containing packing that prevents leakage of gases or liquids …   English contemporary dictionary

  • stuffing box — noun a casing in which material such as greased wool is compressed around a shaft or axle to form a seal against gas or liquid …   English new terms dictionary

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