Gaskets are mechanical seals that fill clearances between two or more mating surfaces, preventing leakage into or out of an assembly. Malleable in design, gaskets are used to create tight, static seals that can withstand various operating conditions. As gaskets serve a wide range of applications, they are available in a variety of styles. That being said, this blog will cover the most common materials used for gaskets and the functions they perform.
It is important to note that gaskets are usually made by cutting sheet materials. Due to the potential cost and safety implications associated with utilizing a faulty gasket, it is paramount that the proper gasket material is selected for your intended applications. For example, gaskets used in high pressure steam systems may contain asbestos. With the health hazards associated with such minerals, non-asbestos gasket materials are preferred.
In most cases, the best material for gaskets is one that can be deformed easily to fit a diverse set of applications and has a tight fit to fill the space it is designed for. In rare instances, certain types of gaskets necessitate a sealant to be applied directly to the gasket surface to work optimally. In contrast, some piping gaskets which are made of metal rely on a seating surface to accomplish a tight seal.
For industrial applications, an effective gasket is composed of a compressed fiber material that can withstand high compressive loads. In fact, most industrial gasket applications incorporated bolts that exert compressive forces of 2000 PSI or more. To ensure that your gasket is equipped to withstand compressive loading, a “hot compression test” can be carried out. Typically, gasket manufacturers will provide or publish such results.
Nonetheless, gaskets are generally made from a flat material such as paper, rubber, silicone, metal, cork, felt, neoprene, nitrile rubber, fiberglass, PTFE, or a plastic polymer. Gasket designs, on the other hand, have a distinct set of metrics to follow. As such, gaskets are available in a variety of designs based on industrial usage, budget, chemical contact, and other physical parameters.
To begin, sheet gaskets are one type of gasket design wherein the shape is “punched out” of a sheet material. While this may provide for a crude, fast, and cheap option, they are not compatible with many applications. In the early days of gasket manufacturing, this material would have been compressed asbestos, but today, we opt for fibrous materials or matted graphite.
Other gasket types are those which are made of solid materials that offer enhanced levels of control and spiral-wound gaskets which are comprised of metallic and filler materials. The latter has proved a reliable option for most applications, but at a higher cost. With this in mind, when you find yourself in need of a specialized gasket, gasket seal ring, electronic gasket, or gasket canopy, rely on ASAP Aerospace Hub.
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