Gaskets are meant to provide the proper sealing of two mating surfaces or components. Therefore, they must be installed optimally. With proper installation, the gaskets can easily prevent leakage on the involved components even under varying levels of compression.
The installation of gaskets normally involves a thorough cleaning, inspection, alignment of flanges, lubrication, and many more. If you intend to install gaskets for your select components, here are some of the best practices that you should know and follow.
Proper Cleaning and Inspection
The flange surface must be free from any foreign material or gasket debris. Therefore, you must clean any material that can be found in the sealing face, flange serrations, fasteners, and others with a brass wire brush. Avoid the use of the grinder, hammer, and chisel in removing the foreign material.
As for the inspection, you must ensure that sealing face should not have any dents, dings, mars, or pitting that can cause some issues once the new gasket is installed. If there is a presence of these elements, then repairs might be required. But once it is already defective, then you must replace them right away.
Confirming Gasket Properties
Before installing the gaskets, you must make sure that they have the correct dimensions for your specific applications. You must take note that the inner diameter of your gaskets should not be smaller than the flange’s inner diameter. If you want to simplify the centralisation of the gasket, then you may want to slightly cut the bolt holes. And just like your flange surfaces and other components, your gaskets must also be free from any defects and issues to ensure that they can be installed flawlessly.
Aligning the Flanges Correctly
An effective seal is only possible if the flanges are aligned properly. And with proper alignment of flanges, you can expect to obtain a uniform maximum gasket load that can create the best seal for your components and systems. One thing to remember when aligning the flanges is to avoid the use of a pry bar or screwdriver. Numerous tools can help in the linear and rotational alignment of flanges.
Installing the Gaskets Accordingly
Once the flanges are set and the gaskets are inspected, the gaskets can now be installed to the flanges. You can start the installation by inserting the gasket between the dry flanges and ensuring that it is centred between them. The use of joint compounds or release agents is not recommended for gasket installations unless state otherwise by the gasket manufacturer. Without any recommendation from the manufacturer, the application of joint compounds or release agents can easily cause chemical attacks on the gaskets, which can compromise their core properties and service life.
Lubricating Load Bearing Surfaces
Lubrication is integral to the functions of gaskets, which is why they must be lubricated optimally. Lubrication can help in both the assembly and disassembly of the gaskets. In choosing your lubricant, you must consider the temperature, particle type, and size. The use of high-quality lubricant can easily make the installation successful, especially when the bolt is tightened. The right way of applying lubricant is to spread it evenly to the thread, nut, and washer load-bearing surfaces. Alternatively, the lubricant must not be applied to the gasket or sealing surface.
Once these steps are followed, you can now install and tighten the bolts. You must, however, consult the gasket manufacturer to know the recommended torque values.
Food processing, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, and other industries all utilise the capabilities of gaskets. Gaskets are mechanical seals that can cover the intersection and fill the space between two or more mating surfaces. They are typically made to be flexible so they can effectively withstand vibration, reduce noise, resist chemicals, and provide significant sealing.
Gaskets can be made from different materials. Some of these materials are paper, metal, and copper. Aside from these materials, these sealing components can also be manufactured out of sponge or foam. Sponge and foam are two distinct materials that may be similar in some ways. However, they also have key differences that make them suitable to select applications.
To know more about sponge and foam gasket, then here are some of their qualities and differences.
Sponge gasket materials are made by heat curing certain elements such as neoprene, nitrile, and silicone that would create a closed-cell sponge structure for their overall structure. Numerous compressible air pockets or bubbles are then formed through the expanding process. Manufacturers have the liberty to control the size and distribution of the pores. Nevertheless, their closed cellular structure allows these gaskets to absorb little moisture, withstand extreme temperatures, and resist ultraviolet light and ozone. It also provides gaskets with much-needed vibration isolation and shock resistance qualities.
What is unique about sponge gaskets is that their pores can conveniently affect their overall properties. Compressing sponge gaskets allows them to obtain a strong compression set resistance and superb compression recovery. Additionally, the closed cellular structure of these gaskets can easily block any movement of gases and liquids, making them ideal for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning sealing applications. And even the edge pores of these gaskets are cut and exposed, their body can still serve as a barrier against different surrounding elements.
Unlike sponge gaskets, foam gaskets are known to possess an open cellular structure. The overall structure of foam gaskets comes from the carbon dioxide gas that is created by the chemical reaction in a liquid mixture. The open structure of foam gaskets may look like a mesh, giving these gaskets appropriate stiffness and rigidity. Still, the overall properties of foam gaskets would depend primarily on the type of polymer used. Some types of polymer that are used in creating foam gaskets include polyethylene, polyurethane, and polyvinyl chloride.
Aside from being stiff and rigid, foam gaskets also boast other qualities that make them recommended for a lot of applications. They have a superior barrier and bonding capabilities that are suitable for a wide array of industries such as automotive, medical, electronic, lighting, and many more. Some characteristics that make foam gaskets great for these industries include proper insulation, effective electrical absorption, fluid and noise restriction, and weather resistance. With shock or vibration applications, the best type of gaskets that one should choose would be foam gaskets with open cellular structure. If you need more information about sponge and foam gaskets, then feel free to contact us at Gasketech. We are a manufacturer and supplier of gaskets and sealing washers, extrusions, and mouldings for all industries.