Compressed Non-Asbestos Gasket Materials Defined

04 October 2019

Once upon a time, so the story goes, asbestos gaskets were commonly in-use because they provided exceptional thermal strength. The fibrous, silicate-based mineral obviously still exhibits superior heat-resistance fortitude, but asbestos is now recognized as an environmentally hazardous material, too. Known for some time now, the tiny fibres cause life-threatening lung diseases. No matter, a whole range of non-asbestos gasket materials are now available.

Compressed Non-Asbestos Gasket Solutions

It’s the compressed fibres that needed replacing during the whole asbestos removal crisis. And it was a crisis, with entire businesses popping up to withdraw the needle-like fibres from countless applications overnight. Sure, those fibres endangered gasket workers, but asbestos was also used as a structural insulant and fire-break, so older buildings used the fibres, too. Anyway, back to gasket applications, this fibre is undeniably dangerous, but it’s also inexpensive and rated to withstand enormous amounts of thermal energy. To replace the material, a whole new range of compressible synthetic fibres have evolved. They include Aramid, carbon fibre, and expanded graphite substitutes.

Equipped With Enhanced Friability Ratings

If a compressed fibreglass gasket is exposed to massive amounts of flange face stress, the synthetic fibre strands will crack and crumble. Under duress, perhaps because of a high bolt torque setting, the gasket fails because it disintegrates when compressed. Let’s leave fibreglass for those tasks that don’t need a lot of flange pressure, then. For high-pressure fluid loads, for liquids and gasses that are super-heated, a tougher synthetic fibre type is selected to overcome such sealing limitations. Designed to handle compressibility extremes and high-temperature fluid streams, the synthetics targeted here are purpose-designed to tolerate such energy extremes. Whether made out of Aramid or carbon, fibreglass or some brand-marketed seal variant, the fibres must be capable of being torque-tightened. Furthermore, the required level of compressibility cannot compromise the chosen fibre’s mechanical integrity.

Although the most physically essential part of a non-asbestos materials’ build, these fibres are only present in heat resistant gaskets in low percentages. Filling out the rest of the blend’s mix, an elastomeric compound provides additional seal resiliency. The non-asbestos gasket materials, be they made out of fibrous aramid or graphite, are blended with a binder, which adds more compressible strength to the product. Already capable of tolerating high temperatures and higher pressures, the right binder also incorporates a healthy measure of chemical resistance.

Again, due to their toxic properties, asbestos gaskets have fallen from grace, but that’s not a problem, not when there’s a whole range of compressible synthetic fibres and binders to fill the hole left by this formerly popular heatproof gasketing mineral.

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