Gaskets, especially those used on industrial equipment, prevent fluid leaks. The sealing rings are fitted between pipes. They’re also installed between pipes and their fittings. On hoses, in pressure vessels and fuel tanks, on fluid processing equipment, all of these fluid-networked parts require gaskets. To all intents and purposes, the seals are mechanically durable, but that one leak-stoppering feature isn’t enough, not on an industrial equipment line.
Heavy Industrial Energies Propagate
Suppose you’ve talked to a system designer, and that expert builds industrial equipment frameworks. The equipment and pressure vessels are the building blocks that contain near unimaginable energies. And those forces aren’t static. Temperatures rise when catalysts cause state changes. Valves alter pressures while other components aid liquids during their vaporization cycle. High temperatures and higher pressures press hard against the internal surfaces of the equipment. Put simply, while it’s true a mechanically sound gasket will withstand kinetic energy, other energy forms can cause damage.
Stressing Gasket Material Importance
And you haven’t even heard the engineer talk about chemical attacks. Potentially, after adding chemical attacks to the mix, the number of gasket-weakening factors in play goes through the roof. It’s hard to find a gasket material that’ll stop multiple process forces, although resilient PTFE seals are a fine option. Even then, compressive forces can introduce Teflon creep. Elsewhere, Neoprene and Nitrile based rubber rings defeat most oils and fuels. Finally, for harsher chemicals, higher pressures, and great temperature extremes, there are metal inserts and/or compressed graphite rings, which come with their own lists of performance pros and cons.
Solving Fluid Adversity Issues
External influences are easy enough to assess. If the pipes and fittings are installed outdoors, a matching set of gaskets must be UV resistant and weatherproof. However, when scores of dynamic fluid factors flow in a pipe, things get more complicated. Still, pipes and storage units don’t typically create new form-impacting forces, not by themselves. Switching over from a simple storage line, industrial equipment is added to the system. Now there are pumps and heat exchangers, plus a dozen other active assemblies in the line. To handle these aggressive streams, the equipment designer upscales everything, including the gasket materials.
Incidentally, an oil resistant gasket won’t stop every type of oil. Likewise, a Teflon seal won’t stop every acid, nor will it resist every caustic chemical. You see, there are hundreds of different chemical reagents and oily substances in use on various industrial facilities. Even the finest gasket material can’t deliver absolute sealing performance, which is why you need access to material data sheets and fluid formulations before choosing a gasket. Poring over those sheets of literature, gasket selection accuracy pays off handsomely.
Polytetrafluoroethylene is a man-made compound that serves the flange sealing industry very well indeed. PTFE, to use the synthetic material’s abbreviated title, is a thermally stable material. Gaskets made from the fluoropolymer also feature a high level of chemical resistance. Hot and chemically caustic fluids simply slide past the ring gaskets without impacting the substance in any way whatsoever.
Thermally Steadfast Gaskets
This is a substance that was famously utilized in the Apollo space program. Known universally as Teflon, the incredibly versatile substance can withstand the heat that’s generated by atmospheric reentries. A more prosaic application, which of coating frying pans, still manages to show off the fluoropolymer’s heat handling talents. Turning towards gasket rings, PTFE seals maintain their finest sealing features when fluid temperatures rise to 204°C. Alternatively, the synthetic plastic won’t become brittle when a fluid medium turns frosty. Down to as low as -73°C, its visco-mechanical properties remain unchanged.
Resists Chemical Causticity
Engineers hate generalities. So PTFE is imbued with superior chemical resistance, but for what chemicals? How well does the gasket ring substance perform when a truly concentrated acid flows? Will a super-caustic fluid eat its way through the fluoropolymer? Well, Teflon performs admirably when it’s attacked by acids, alkalis, alcohols, and solvents. It’s a remarkably non-reactive material. Even oils and greases, those that weaken other rubbers and plastics, rarely affect PTFE gasket rings. To find any weaknesses, research Teflon gaskets and fluorinating agents. These compounds do cause trouble for the material, as do certain alkali metal bases.
The Thermal and Chemical Benefits
At twice the boiling temperature of water, such steamy outflows scorch and carbonize lesser plastics. PTFE retains its mechanical attributes and its viscoelastic talents when this level of thermal hostility burns its way down a pipe. In real-world chemical processing, the attack rarely comes from one direction. More commonly, at least two, often three, forms of attack occur simultaneously. In other words, expect the high temperatures in a chemical processing plant to be accompanied by a caustic assault. Fortunately, thanks to a non-reactive carbon backbone, PTFE gaskets easily reject both forms of attack.
Other benefits crop up as the material advantages list is examined. This is a hydrophobic plastic, so it rejects fluids. PTFE gasket rings also possess a low-frictional coefficient, which means they’re slippery. Placed properly against a flange face, the opposing face fits snugly, without generating any abrasive opposition. In summary, PTFE gaskets are the chemically resistive kings of the fluid sealing realm. Better yet, though, they’re descended from a material lineage that’s designed to operate under all kinds of temperature extremes.