Gasket Compression Curve: Why is it Important in Gasket Selection?

01 May 2019

Numerically based literacy is applied when selecting a gasket. An engineer runs a finger down a list, finds the results of the scan pleasing, and the decision is made. Interestingly, gasket parameters are also stored in graphical formats. On graphs, two axial lines cross. A curve intersects. It creates a picture of a seal’s mechanical characteristics. That, in a nutshell, is a technique that also applies to gasket compression curves.

Plotting the Two Key Datasets

This is a performance-illustrating tool. The curve clearly depicts how a specified gasket will react as it’s compressed between two flange faces. It shows material densifications as fastener loads are applied. As Y-axis load factors increase, the X-axis shows how well the seal handles the compressive energies. To measure the densification, the material crushing energies are translated into dimensions. Essentially, as a load bears down, the Y-axis measurements are recorded. Meanwhile, simultaneously recorded on the X-axis, a loss of gasket thickness is measured. At any point where those energies intersect, a mark is made on the graph. As those marks accumulate, a line is plotted through them until the gasket compression curve becomes readily apparent.

Why Is This Curve An Essential Performance Benchmarker?

Engineers create the curves as performance baselines. They show how the material stiffness of a seal reacts as it’s placed under a compressive load. The depth of the arc of the curve, how it flattens or straightens out at different clamping pressures, tells an important story. Admittedly, it takes a trained engineer to create this shape, but that information, once garnered, can be read by an installation professional. At any given point along the axial lines, that trained eye sees how a gasket deforms under pressure. On applying fastener force, on taking that turn energy higher than what’s suggested by the curve, a gasket could extrude out and create a number of leak pathways. Kept within the plotted curve limits, such overloading calamities become unlikely because the installer defers to the gasket’s material stiffness parameters, as described in the seal’s compression curve.

Unlike a static numerical seal parameter, gasket compression curves show a broad range of possible loading effects. As the loads increase or reduce, the installer sees how a gasket handles the different loads. Intended as a material stiffness-to-load factor interpreting guide, the compression curves show how different gaskets densify and compress. More than this, they demonstrate material deformability, extrusion dangers, and potential leakage pathways. Do always comply with a list of numerical behavioural parameters when selecting a gasket. Fortify this approach by knowing how the material will react to a given load.

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