While gaskets may get overlooked in everyday life, they are everywhere! Gaskets are mechanical seals that are a crucial component of many of the things we use daily, from cars and engines to appliances and more. Poor gasket quality can lead to leaks, process interruptions, product failure, and expensive maintenance and replacement, which ultimately decrease productivity and profitability. Because gaskets play an essential role in the proper operation of various products and machines, choosing the right gasket for your application is imperative.
Automated Gasket Corporation is your first choice for high-quality custom gasket and seal fabrication. Below, our experts have provided some helpful tips for selecting the perfect gasket to suit your needs.
Choosing Your Gasket Material
The gasket material you select must meet your application’s requirements for the environmental and operational conditions; otherwise, your gasket is at an increased risk of failure. Our team of gasket experts considers many things when suggesting custom gasket materials for your project, such as exposure to the elements, fluid immersion, the maximum stress the application should stand, and the level of chemical resistance for the required gasket, among others.
Key factors to consider include:
- Temperature – This is arguably the most critical factor. Each gasket’s material is best suited for a specific range of continuous operating temperatures for optimal performance. If both or either of your application’s minimum and maximum operating temperatures are not within the material’s range, the next material must be chosen.
- Chemical compatibility – There are many different fluids and gasses to seal against, and the gasket material must be harmonious with the one in your application (including flushes and system cleanouts) to provide an effective seal. Chemical makeup factors including pH level, oxidation qualities, and oil or water content can corrode or destroy different gasket materials when exposed.
- Pressure – The internal pressure of the fluid at the gasketed joint will play a role. If severe pressures change frequently, a more robust material may be required.
- Application – It’s important to understand the requirements of the particular application. The material you choose must seal against all the operational forces involved, such as compensating for any movement.
Here’s what you need to know about the different types of gasket materials:
Metallic gaskets are fabricated from one or a combination of metals. Metallic gaskets, also called ring-type-joint gaskets (RTJ), are accompanied by flanges and create a reliable seal. They have virtually no compression but can resist pressures as high as 10,000 psi. Metallic gaskets work best in high-temperature and high-pressure applications, such as heat exchangers, compressors, condensers, pumps, and valves. High-tension bolting is required when using metallic gaskets.
Popular materials for metal gaskets include:
- Soft iron
- Stainless steel
- Low carbon steel
Non-metallic gaskets are made from materials that compress easily with little tension or pressure, making them ideal for applications requiring low-pressure levels. They are often used in low-temperature applications and to seal variable gaps.
Popular materials for non-metal gaskets include:
- Compressed Non-Asbestos Fiber (CNAF)
- Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)
Semi-metallic, or composite, gaskets bridge the gap between metallic and non-metallic gaskets. They merge the strength and resiliency of metal with the conformability and sealing ability of a soft, non-metal material, ensuring a tight seal in various pressure, temperature, and environmental factors. Semi-metallic gaskets are used on raised face, male-female, and tongue-and-groove flanges in applications ranging from refineries and chemical processing plants to aerospace.
Popular materials for composite gaskets are:
- Graphite filler
- PTFE filler
- Stainless steel
- Carbon steel
- Titanium alloy
Choosing Your Type of Gasket
Once you select the best material for your application, you can choose the right gasket structure.
The most common variations of gaskets include:
- Jacketed gaskets – They have a soft, non-metallic interior and a metallic coating, giving the gasket’s interior better resistance to damage. They are used in high-pressure and high-temperature applications where flange areas are limited, but a rigid construction is needed.
- Solid gaskets – Most solid gaskets are formed from metal and are highly durable. They are used in high-pressure and high-temperature applications and require immense compression force to form a seal properly. They are most commonly used between two other dense surfaces that are harder than the gasket material.
- Spiral wound gaskets – They use a combination of metals and plastics (or rubber) wound around layers of metal, which yields flexibility and resistance to damage and high heat. The gasket remains rubbery, so it seals well in moving joints and where fluids, gasses, or heat exchange is needed. Spiral wound gaskets are often used in piping and pumping systems because of their reliable seal.
- Kammprofile gaskets – Kammprofile gaskets can be thought of as jacketed spiral wound gaskets. They have a metal core surrounded by non-metal material on the top and bottom. Kammprofile gaskets can create a tight seal along the gasket’s edge with extra reinforcement.
- Pipe gaskets – They are circular and usually require a higher tolerance for compression and resistance to corrosion and extreme temperatures. Pipe gaskets are used in simple joints, like those found in pipes. A combination of metallic, non-metallic, and semi-metallic materials is used to ensure that each joint remains sealed.
Choosing the Right Gasket Manufacturer
Once you have your material selected and your gasket configuration determined, it’s time to find the best gasket manufacturer to help ensure the success of your project. Look for manufacturers that have experience in the industries you serve. Automated Gasket Corporation offers the reliability, credibility, and assurance you seek from your gasket manufacturer.
You will receive the best customer service from our knowledgeable team, and high-quality results when you work with us. From gasket fabrication to waterjet cutting services, we can make the product design and prototyping process easier for you! Our team can typically produce your sample within 48 hours of your request, as long as materials are available.
With our commitment to detail, you can rely on us to fulfill all of your gasket needs in a timely manner and assist you from start to finish. For custom gasket fabrication from a dependable, ISO-certified manufacturer, contact us today!