Tips on How to Prevent Gaskets from Cracking and Drying

11 July 2017

Cracking and drying problems trouble certain elastomeric gaskets. The affliction occurs when the seal dries, becomes brittle, and the material develops hairline fissures. It’s patently obvious here, as these cracks spread, that the gasket has been rendered less than reliable. Unless action is taken, a conveyed fluid will discover the tiny channels and there will be leaks. Here’s a list of tips that are designed to prevent gaskets from cracking and drying.

Low-Pressure Domestic Scenarios

An empty home hibernates. There’s silence in every room, the electricity is turned off, and there’s no water in the pipes. In this residential example, the elastomeric gaskets dry out because they’re unused. Avoid seal cracks by allowing a small trickle to flow. A smart homeowner can also sidestep this issue by asking a neighbour to run the taps occasionally so that the seals are kept wet.

Prevent Ultraviolet Aging

An exposed gasket ages when it’s exposed to UV light. Shield the products by storing the seals in a dark space, not some construction site where they’ll lay under the sun. Better yet, select a gasket material that’s rated to handle ultraviolet light. Incidentally, ozone, another outdoor threat, also causes seal cracking. Ozone occurs naturally, but the otherwise inactive gas is also produced by electrical equipment.

Eliminating Temperature Cycling Cracks

Hot fluids bake elastomers. The constant thermal cycling causes gasket embrittlement. The temperature changes then shrink the product. Bereft of its pliable nature, the seal cracks. Install materials that are rated to endure these temperature extremes. If the conditions are reversed, perhaps by an arctic climate, then the material must be capable of retaining seal integrity when material contraction occurs.

Meeting Mechanical Challenges

Joint expansion and contraction is one thing, but what about vibrational problems? Again, an elastomer that exhibits a matching set of vibration-dampening characteristics is the solution. Reinforce that solution by using a gasket adhesive that incorporates a similarly pliable material base. Additionally, a series of vibration-isolating hoses, as used on hydraulic equipment, will further prevent mechanical noise propagation.

As we can see, many conditions steal gasket pliability. The material hardens, becomes dangerously brittle, then the cracks break out. Prevent gasket cracking and drying by employing the tips we’ve listed above. As for the drying part of this sealing conundrum, a domestic water supply should be kept wet. Otherwise, use a cool, dark area to store the seals, and consider using a paste-like compound as a supplemental gasket lubricating aid.

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