Gaskets come in all shapes and sizes, providing essential seals for mechanical equipment and it might surprise you to learn about the many industries that rely heavily on gasket sealing. The technical definition of a gasket is a device that mates two or more surfaces that are under compression; of course, every single internal combustion engine has many gaskets, which enable seals to maintain essential compression. A gasket can be used to prevent the discharge of air, water or oil and there are specialist companies that supply custom gaskets for specific purposes.
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Materials used to make gaskets
The list is long, with rubber, paper, silicone, metal, neoprene, felt, fibreglass and polymer; all being used to make specific gaskets to precise specifications. The choice of material is critical; a compromised gasket can cause catastrophic damage; visit this website for an extensive catalogue of gasket materials, with custom solutions.
Ability to withstand high pressure
A set of gaskets on a high-performance internal combustion engine would have to be top-notch and be able to withstand extreme pressure and temperature. There must be a degree of flexibility in a gasket; this movement enables other surfaces to seal; neoprene is the perfect material for gaskets, due to its unique properties.
By far the most common method of making gaskets is to punch them out of sheets, which are rolled and pressed to attain the perfect consistency, then a mould presses out the shape, which has to be refined by hand. Rigorous quality control is demanded with certain types of gaskets; anything to do with aeronautics is heavily regulated. Imagine if the hydraulic gaskets on a 747 failed! Landing undercarriage up is never going to end well. Deep-sea submarines also need high-quality gaskets.
Made of a mixture of metal and filler material, the metal is there to add strength to the component; think of it as layers of metal and filler pushed together and you have a clear understanding of how spiral-wound gaskets work.
Used primarily in the oil industry, ring gaskets seal pipelines very effectively and there are many different designs, depending on the equipment. The gas industry makes good use of ring gaskets, which must withstand high pressures and extreme temperatures.
Gaskets are developed alongside the equipment to provide a good seal between materials and withstand extreme pressure.