Common Gaskets Used in Automotive Applications

11 August 2017

Gaskets divide into two discrete classes when they’re employed in automotive applications. There are the passive areas where the seals protect passengers and driver. They’re the door gaskets and window seals, products that are formed from extruded lengths of weatherized rubber. What about the active seals, though, the common gaskets that manage engine and exhaust fluids?

Extraneous System Seals

The coolant in a car lays dormant. When the ignition circuit sparks life into the engine, that fluid rapidly heats as it recirculates around the engine and absorbs mechanically-generated heat. It’s in here that water-glycol resistant seals withstand the heat without ageing prematurely. Meanwhile, the gruelling conditions throughout the oil distribution system generate a corrosive environment. Fortunately, cork and cured nitrile automotive gaskets resist the impact of aromatic hydrocarbons while creating a formidable barrier that blocks oil leaks.

Engine Gasket Solutions

Head gaskets are one example of the automobile engine seal, then there are intake manifold seals, exhaust manifold gaskets, seals for the engine block, the oil pan, and much more besides. Compressed by torque-heavy tools, the engine segments clamp tightly down on these parts so that the internal combustion chamber maintains its explosive cycle. If that measured air/fuel mix is to be compressed and combusted, this rugged seal family needs some heavy-duty sealing characteristics, just like the super-tough industrial pipe gaskets we’ve been describing in other articles. With that thought in mind, expect a head gasket and its associated engine seals to be manufactured from thin layers of heat-treated steel. More accurately, those bonded layers are likely fabricated as composite parts, as die cut inserts that are layered with an elastomeric coating.

All around a vehicle, common gasket types fill every conceivable application. They’re in the electronic control modules as cable protection inserts. Oil-bathed transmission systems use cork gaskets and compressed fibre seals. Whatever the application, the material exists to meet the need, be it a super-hot coolant stream or a channeled supply of engine oil. Down in the depths of the engine, geometrically shaped gaskets allow the passage of cylinder heads, so they’re die cut and manufactured from layers of composite material, from steel, copper, and from a wear-resistant rubberized coating. Of course, should a weatherized window seal crack, the extruded material simply leaks rainwater. However, if that engine head gasket fails, the combustion cycle is compromised, plus there’s a possibility of a nasty fluid contamination scenario, which is why even the most common vehicle gasket is built according to a stringent manufacturing methodology.

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