Gaskets and sealing materials play a significant role in our daily lives. They can be found in engines, applications, devices, and almost everything that we use. Gaskets help to prevent the leakage of water, air, gas, or any other liquids used in industrial and commercial environments. It’s also important to use the right elastomer products to ensure that your gasket or sealing applications work properly. Again, you need to pick out the right gasket for the effective functioning of an array of machines and appliances. Here are some tips to help you choose the right gasket or seal material:
Consider the Environment
When it comes to gaskets or seals, they are susceptible to all kinds of environments. For instance, these substances may remain exposed to sunlight. In such a scenario, you can consider EPDM that has outstanding heat and weather resistance properties and is hence ideal for use in automotive cooling system and weather-stripping applications. However, do not use materials such as Nitrile in direct heat or sunlight. You need to limit your choices in abnormally high temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use Perfluoelastomer products for such environments, but do not use EPDM at any cost.
Get to Know the Gasket Configurations
Do you know why most of the gaskets fail? Well, these failures result out of stress relaxation, inconsistent pressure or force on mating surfaces and torque loss on fastening bolts. Your gasket may also malfunction if temperature issues are wrongly addressed. Therefore, get to know about the possible configurations of flange gaskets and related applications. Take note of everything including liquid pressure, temperature and the corrosive properties of the fluid. Once you know about the configuration, it’s easy to choose the right shape and material of the gaskets.
Assess Chemical Resistivity
Do you know how much chemical resistivity your gasket should possess? Make your choice based on the corrosive properties of the contained liquid. As far as Nitrile runner NBR is concerned, it has good resistivity to oil, but cannot be used with oxidizing liquids or fluids. On the contrary, ePTFE is ideal for all media in the range of 0-14 pH. However, it fails to cope with elemental fluorine and alkali metals.
Take Material Selection Seriously
Once you know where the gasket or seal material will be used, the selection of the right material should be your next priority. Let’s have a look at some of the primary materials used in the manufacturing of gaskets.
Fibrous: Several materials are available with unique properties like glass, MMMF, carbon fiber, mica PTFE (Teflon) and cork.
Elastomeric: These materials are extensible, elastic, incompressible and impermeable. They are made from diverse materials such as EP, CP, neoprene, IIR and natural rubber. It’s possible to deform these materials, but you cannot minimize its volume.
Metallic: They are made from one metal or a combination of metals in varied sizes and shapes. These materials are ideal for high pressure and temperature applications.
Non-metallic: You can compress these gaskets under a low bolt load. They are generally used in heat exchangers, pipe flanges and compressor valve gaskets. These materials are extremely tolerant to misuse or mishandling.
Test How Your Gasket Performs
Testing your gasket performance is imperative to make sure that it functions properly and meets all parameters necessary for your specific application. Perform tests such as creep relaxation testing, hot compression testing, and more. It’s only after meticulous testing that you’ll be able to understand whether the gasket would be able to endure compression, temperature, sealability, pressure and resistivity to chemical degradation.
Opt for the right gasket and elastomer products to ensure the optimum performance of your industrial or commercial applications. Take your time and make an informed choice.