4 Things to Know About Gaskets in High Performance Applications

Every market has its own set of preferences and needs as it applies to gaskets and the materials they are made from. High performance applications are no exception. Obviously, everyone needs gaskets that meet the requirements of the application, effectively seal and have value. However, there are some different considerations that you will need to pay attention to if you work or desire to work in high performance applications.

Below you will, find four things that you should be aware of when dealing with gaskets in high performance applications.

What You Should Know

1. Machining makes a difference in the gaskets used.

This is true in any application, but you do see a wide spectrum of machining in high performance. The time (and money) spent on flange surfaces has a direct correlation with your gasket choice. On rough and uneven flanges, composite materials are the best choice. They can fill in surface imperfections and achieve a seal where other materials will not. Other types of gasket designs require costly machining to achieve the smooth finishes that are necessary.

2. Clean teardown is important.

When you think of high performance, you think of quick and efficient turnovers. Gaskets that come apart cleanly without sticking are desired. What should you look for in gaskets to achieve this? First, an anti-stick coating gives you the ability to remove your gaskets without much scraping or peeling. Second, utilizing “armor” type materials (metal on the outside) provides the same benefit in exhaust applications.

3. Reuse

With the clean teardown comes the expectation to reuse a gasket. This is especially true in high performance applications. While it isn’t recommended to even reuse a gasket, you can get away with it under certain conditions. Review our blog post “The Great Gasket Debate: To Reuse or Not To Reuse”.

4. Material Quality

Generally, materials used in “high performance” applications are a better grade than the standard product. It might be a better polymer system, a higher grade of graphite for longer life, an aramid fiber vs a cellulose fiber, etc. Also, gaskets may feature higher density materials for better recovery properties and low creep. A simple change such as using a better base material for a gasket might offer significant benefits to a part and elevate it to “high performance” status.

Find What Works for You

If you are unsure whether or not a specific material will meet the needs of your high performance application, don’t hesitate to talk to your trusted gasket material supplier. Identifying the right materials to meet the requirements of your application can sometimes be difficult.

What material features are important to you in your high performance work?

Metal Tech Industries offers such grades as AR400, SB582, HT337, HT959 and others for this level of performance.Armor product comparison

How To Decide If Your Gaskets Need An Anti-Stick Coating

When deciding what characteristics you need in your gasket, most people start with the basics – what type of material is necessary and what thickness is needed. Once you start to dial in on your selection, then you start to look at the various material properties that are specified (compressibility, recovery, creep, ignition loss, etc). All of this is done (most likely) with cost considerations in the back of your mind.

Another consideration that sometimes needs to happen is whether or not the gasket needs an anti-stick coating. Our cost-conscious readers might cringe a little at the thought of this because adding an anti-stick coating does add some cost to your gasket, but can you afford not to do this?

Do I Need An Anti-Stick Coating?

Anti-stick coatings can improve your gasket’s functionality and performance. Here are a few things to consider when deciding if an anti-stick coating is needed.

1. What is the design life of the joint?

Some joints are meant to be permanent, with engineers preferring a good bond to both flanges. In this case, an anti-stick coating would not be used, but perhaps a sealant coating.

2. Is it expected to be taken apart for maintenance?

In some cases, a clean release from flanges is preferred for maintenance or other reasons. In this case, the anti-stick coating will help the gasket release from the flanges upon teardown.

3. What are the flange materials? Are they dissimilar metals?

Flanges with dissimilar metals expand and contract at different rates. An anti-stick coating on the gasket provides a higher degree of lubricity and “slip” to allow the gasket to move with the joint instead of tearing apart.

4. Given temperature exposure, is there motion expected in the joint (expansion/contraction)?

Similar to #3 above, even flanges of the same metal can expand at different rates due to their structure and create a tearing effect on gasket materials. Anti-stick coating can address this issue and prevent damage to the gasket.

Ok, So I Need It

As you can see, it is very important to consider whether or not the gaskets in your application need an anti-stick coating. Most often, if a value-added step like this is needed, it is going to benefit the application in the long run. As we’ve said before, you never want the gasket to be the reason an application fails. Do your research and make sure the gasket going into your application is going to be able to get the job done.

Now, let’s get coating!

If you are interested in learning more about anti-stick coatings, and what Metal Tech offers in this area, check out our TechCoat product comparison!