Synthetic fiber gaskets are imbued with specially tailored properties. A long list of man-made materials fills this category. They resist corrosive fluid attacks from specific acid strains, food types, or chemical compounds. Mechanically sound, the material structure of a calendered synthetic fiber is designed to withstand flange compression extremes and to handle large temperature fluctuations. With that being said, maybe we should take a closer look at this manufactured material.

What Are Synthetic Fibers?

Picture synthetic fibers as man-made materials, as the plastic and glass-based filaments that are built with a toughened molecular backbone. Fluoropolymer bonds and strong thermoplastic linkages create gasket sheets that deliver superior physical properties and custom-manufactured fluid handling traits. PTFE is a popular source for these synthetic strands, but there are many proprietary products, brand names that contain unique material characteristics. Cut by die cutting equipment, these synthetic filaments can be tailored to fit any conceivable sealing application.

Examining the Manufacturing Process

Special blends of rubber and aramid act as a structural framework for the exotic strands. They bind together to form long sheets, at which point they’re die stamped into synthetic fiber gaskets. Again, this process varies from one manufacturer to the next, but a binding agent is regarded a critical part of the manufacturing phase, for it bonds those toughened filaments in place. The sheets are loaded with a blend of graphite, glass, PTFE, and other synthetic filaments. The exact mix ratio is managed by the manufacturer so that the artificial material specifically accommodates a preordained fluid medium.

Synthetic Fiber Gaskets: Assorted Applications

If a data sheet filled with operational conditions impedes the adoption of a natural gasketing material, then synthetic fiber gaskets are on hand to take up the slack. Calendered and bonded to rubber or cork, these manufactured material seals serve the aerospace and automobile industry as fuel and lubricant-resistant seals. They exhibit excellent dimensional stability, even when the flange fastening pressure bears down with great compressive strength. A minor change in the formula, a substituted graphite base or man-made felt binding agent, is enough to alter a fluorocarbon stranded gasket group and its subgrouped product lineage so that the next iteration in the product inventory seals a solvent based fluid or a caustic chemical compound.

Every property assigned to a group of synthetic fiber gaskets is alterable. Controlled by the manufacturing process, the Teflon-strengthened bonds and their brand-determined siblings are endowed with a superior compressibility feature, plus a finitely adjustable filament base, one that can be intelligently adjusted to withstand any material type, pressure, or temperature variance. After the artificially manufactured strands are bonded to rubber or cork, the calendered sheets are readily cut up into ranks and rows of dimensionally stable gaskets.

Few mechanical breakdown events engender as much dread in a car owner’s heart as a blown head gasket. Located between the engine block and the cylinder head compartment, this mechanically-essential seal is responsible for containing the internal combustion process, plus all of those explosively rising and falling cylinder parts. It’s because of these stress factors that this gasket doesn’t leak, it blows. What are the causes of blown head gaskets?

What is A Head Gasket?

As we briefly explained a moment ago, this is the all-important engine seal that contains internal combustion stress. When the engine block is mated to the cylinder head, this geometrically complex gasket is fitted between the two core engine parts as a seal. If you were to look at it, you’d see a row of cylinder apertures, plus an accompanying series of smaller holes. The latter array of openings exists to deliver the engine lubricant and a coolant. If this primary seal were to be breached, what would happen? Well, engine compression ratios drop like the proverbial stone if the gasket leaks. Furthermore, the once isolated lubricants and coolants leak and mix. From here, the engine overheats, it spits out clouds of smoke, and there’s an increased risk of permanent engine damage.

The Causes of Blown Head Gaskets

If we know the causes, we can avoid them. For instance, those two engine halves are forged from strong alloys. Still, even the smallest manufacturing difference can alter the way one of those segments reacts to stress. If combustion cycles do produce heat, the thermal energy is making the metal expand and contract. Mechanical creep hits the head gasket hard, especially if it’s made from an overly rigid material. The result of this expansion effect is head gasket fatigue, which means a blown head gasket is imminent. Head bolt overtightening is the other culprit here, with the bolt pressure over compressing the head gasket material. Engine assembly expertise rectifies this latter problem by applying the correct torque to each bolt and installing each one in the right sequence.

Substandard head gasket materials don’t react well when placed under pressure. The segment marrying stress, perhaps done out of sequence, over compresses the seal and introduces a weak spot. Meanwhile, a poor lubrication fluid or low coolant level causes rapid expansion and contraction cycling, a repeating event that’s felt as a mechanical creep effect. Have the engine serviced by an expert, someone who will install a high-quality head gasket correctly. On top of that provision, avoid high-temperature cycling effects by using a superior lubricant and a properly topped coolant reservoir.