Vulcanised Fibre Gasket Materials: Common Uses and Applications

22 June 2018

Vulcanized materials are exposed to high-temperatures and special additives. Essentially, these curatives function as cellulose binding agents. In gasket processing, the process adds tensile strength to the hard, durable rings, plus mechanical resistance. The treated gaskets endure when strong compressive forces are applied, and they’re equipped to deal with material damaging abrasive actions. Let’s look at some common usages for these vulcanized products.

Defining Material Characteristics 

Take a closer look at a table full of vulcanized rubber gaskets. Some are thicker than others, so they’re rated to handle compressive flange stress. Also, on the same desk, there are coloured and graded vulcanized materials. In plain terms, the source fibre varies from one grade to the next. For instance, cotton pulp is a common fibre type, as is wood pulp and other cellulose-rich substances. Durable by nature, the gaskets are pressed, calendered, and dried until they suit a nominated application.

Electrically Graded Seals 

Known as “fish paper” by industry insiders, this thin vulcanized material is dimensionally stable. Proven as an extremely flat gasketing solution, the die cut substance is commonly used as an arcing shield and dielectric. This time around, instead of pressurized fluids, the application base evokes images of electrical substations, of high potential differences and dangerous electrical charges. Cut to shape, the vulcanized fibre forms the insulation on high voltage transformer coils and grid distribution insulation.

Commercial Grade Gaskets 

Made almost entirely of crushed cellulose, the sheet material arrives laminated in plastic. The homogenized material won’t separate, not even in water, and it’s a natural fit for the petrochemical sector. Lacking chemical resins, the gaskets are hard and chemically pure. Taking those two features into account, the seals slot into place on automobile fuel and lubricating systems, solvent storage facilities, and petrochemical processing plants. For further material strength, the fibres can be blended with cork granules.

Dynamic Applications 

Motor vehicle engines kick out great quantities of mechanical energy. Cylinders rise and fall, crankshafts spin, and drive trains engage wheels. In the cylinder heads, die cut vulcanized fibre gaskets contain the lubricating oil and intense kinetic forces. Back at the electrical transformer, similar energies are in motion. This time around, however, its electrical power, not kinetic energy, that’s testing the sealing strength of the gasket. After all, the cooling medium inside that transformer is oil, a fluid that would compromise most other electrical dielectrics and insulators.

Employed heavily in the automotive and electrical industry, vulcanized fibre gaskets are also used as high-strength petrochemical seals and machine cylinder gaskets. Expect to see them in their sealed plastic bags as red rings, although they also come in several other colours.

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