How Proper Installation Procedures Improve Gasket Life03 September 2019
Past posts have highlighted flange face problems and incautiously selected gasket materials. And rightfully so, for such errors can cause and all sorts of sealing issues. However, there’s also the question of installation correctitude, which requires a whole books-worth of procedural smarts to ensure flange-to-flange jointing integrity. From bolt ring tightening patterns to gasket selection knowledge and flange face conformity, all of these factors must correspond with one another.
Explaining Gasket Sealing Parallelism
By referring to joint “Parallelism,” we’re saying that every stage of a joint must absolutely stay on task. If an approved bolt tightening pattern is applied just-so, then the right sealing ring for the job must support that tightening force. If that’s not the case, no matter how uniformly the flange faces anchor together, gasketing integrity cannot be confirmed. Again, for a gasket to demonstrate an application-mandated measure of sealing strength, all procedurally implemented steps must receive equal consideration.
Charting the Installation Stages
First on the installation parallelism chart, the gasketing ring is selected. A material base is picked out that will contain a quoted internal pressure and temperature range. High temperatures are the norm here, but cryogenics facilities require seals that won’t freeze and crack when hit by subzero temperatures. Next, the compressive load, as applied by the flanges and ring of bolts, will also impact a gasket’s size and shape. Selected so that it slips neatly in place, it also needs to be thick enough to handle the compressive pressures that’ll bear down as the flange bolts tighten. Finally, installers must know the chemical content of a piped fluid before a corrosion-resistant gasket can be selected.
Getting Involved with Sealing Procedures
Having been finished with the material selection stage, the installation work moves onto the bolt-tightening work. Brushes and sealing compounds pair with bolt lubricants and surface contact cleaners to prepare the flanges. Not to be overlooked, much time is spent aligning the gasket so that it seats properly and permits passage of all flange bolts. A calibrated torque wrench is at last lifted, then the bolts are tightened, not in a plain old sequential manner either. No, a tightening pattern is utilized, one that suits the job at hand.
To contain nigh-on incalculable fluid loads and great temperature extremes, every stage of this assignment must be carried out very carefully indeed. After selecting the gasket, a seal that has its own demanding list of product parameters, there’s all the alignment work to be done. The ring must be seated properly, and it can’t be blighted by a manufacturing flaw. Lastly, with bolt lubricants and sealing compounds in place, a hydraulic tensioner is used to pattern-fasten the bolts so that the flange faces apply uniform compressive force all around the gasket ring.
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