Gasket Material and Application Guide

26 September 2018

A pause in the narrative is on the cards, at least for this post, while we tender a structured engineering guide. Intended to function as a gasket material and application guide, the following article will list, in alphabetical order, many popular and not so popular gasketing materials and their roles in different applications. After each material, a description of its properties and commonly assigned usage areas will be listed, too.

Cellulose-Based Paper 

Used for relatively low-pressure applications, places where the fluid temperature won’t exceed 120°C, this specially coated paper is saturated with a plasticized compound. It acts as a petroleum, solvent, and oil jointing medium. Expect to find paper gaskets in engine, pump, lubrication, and fuel system joints.

Cork Gaskets 

Again, here’s a material that performs best in low temperature and low-pressure applications. As such, this highly compressible natural substance is best employed as an oil and petroleum sealing product. It’s installed in fuel lines, designed to contain higher pressures than paper, and cork is also a naturally wear resistant gasketing solution.

Elastomeric Materials 

Perhaps filled with the most comprehensively capable catalogue of different material types, there are thousands of different plastics and rubbers available. There’s EPDM, a popular cooling system option and a plastic that’s often found performing at its best in chemical processing facilities. If that aggressive fluid load strengthens, then turn to Viton or Teflon, which both have robust fluoroelastomer-based backbones.

Fibre-Based Seals 

From high-pressure aramid fibres to equally capable fibreglass gaskets, this material category covers a vast number of applications. Aramid seals, for example, can easily tolerate 825°C of fluid heat. Then there are cellulose and vulcanized fibres, carbon fibres and more. They retain dimensional stability, even when they’re exposed to large compressive forces. Fibre-based seals are oil, petrol, pressure, and temperature resistant, depending on their exact composition.

Metal-Strengthened Gaskets 

When the pressures carried in a fluid line reach unendurable levels, carbon steel or titanium-based rings hold back those formidable forces. They’re used along with other material inserts to seal heat exchangers, boiler pipes, massive arrays of high-pressure pumps, land-crossing oil pipelines, and in other large-scale, off-the-chart industrial applications.

This guide contains a fraction of the materials and applications that rule countless commercial and industrial usage domains. Sure, these are the mainstays, the elastomers and fibres that serve these areas best, plus they can blend with each other to form even more usable composite products, but there’s more to check out. There are felt and sponges, products that perform better in vibration-prone or food-safe environments, for instance. Without a doubt, there’s a gasket for every application, and it’s up to the engineer-in-charge to match a gasket material, plus its geometry, with the correct application.

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