Why Quality Gasket Seals are Essential for Hydraulic and Pneumatic Pumps

19 November 2018

Low-pressure pneumatic systems employ less than 75-kPa of pump compressed air. That figure can climb as high as a several hundred kilopascal load. For hydraulic equipment, the design engineer can easily pop another zero on the end of that number, for these heavy-duty systems are often asked to handle thousands of kilopascals, and those kinds of fluid loads are unforgiving, at least when it comes to a leaky gasket.

Demystifying Fluid Mechanics 

As a central premise, capable hydraulic and pneumatic gaskets are designed to keep compressed gasses and pressurized liquids within fluid power equipment. The equipment employs a closed loop, with the contained fluid forces conveying energy from pumps and reservoirs to onboard actuators. Those actuators include rod and piston devices, plus several branching families of force manipulating component classes. In fact, just like electrical equipment, a whole science has sprung up around fluid transmission technology. There are complex circuit elements in the systems, plus numerous feedback-controlled network forms, many of which are built to responsively turn small signals into proportionally larger mechanical actions.

Essential Qualities For Fluid Power Transmission Gaskets 

Clearly, thanks to the immense contained pressures, a leaky gasket represents a major health hazard. From one point of view, the energy losses impact machinery. The gear becomes less responsive, an outrigger fails on a crane, there’s a chassis-toppling risk, and the boom of a heavy lifter could fail at the worst possible moment. More directly, tiny leaks act like invisible jets, which can send fluid rocketing towards an unprotected eye or someone’s skin. Forcefully ejected fluids can easily penetrate soft tissue and cause serious physical harm. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this danger, not without a high-quality gasketing series. Conforming to the irregular surfaces of a pneumatic or hydraulic tube interface or flange, quality gasket seals fill microscopically tiny mating surface voids. Installed correctly, though, o-rings and flat-faced gaskets stop fluid leakage effects in their tracks.

Unique among other equipment forms, hydraulic and pneumatic equipment handle huge loads, but they’re also built to function as clean closed loop systems. That’s a tough restriction to solve. No pollutants can enter from the outside, no oils or water, air or particulates. Meanwhile, hydraulic oils can be corrosive while pneumatic gasses suck in large quantities of system-corroding moisture. The selected gaskets can’t fail when they’re attacked by corrosive oils or parts-fatiguing water, nor can they break down if the fluid emulsifies. Heat and pressure, plus a slew of other system-impacting variables are waiting for their chance to damage the fluid seals, so high-quality gasket seals are a must-have feature.

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