You may be wondering what a gasket material supplier is doing writing about poor gasket design. Over the years we have seen our fair share of design flaws, and just before launch, everyone is scrambling to find a gasket material that will make up for the deficiencies in the design. We are here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way! Sometimes the best gasket design can come from choosing the right material in the first place.
More than a few times in our 20+ years of business, we have been called upon to suggest a material for an application before the design is finalized. With our line of metal reinforced composites, we can offer a solution that is going to seal most joints successfully. We are also on the front end of a lot of gasket designs as well. We are proud to partner with OEM’s and fabricators and provide design assistance, which helps avoid the scramble at the end when the design and material don’t play nicely together.
If you are currently designing a gasket, or may ever design a gasket, read on for some gasket design warning signs and how they can negatively affect how well your gasket will seal…
Some Common Problems & Their Potential Solutions
1. Temperatures are too hot, the material is burning up.
It may be aging with the heat exposure, requiring that a higher temp material be used.
2. Internal pressure is too high, gasket is leaking.
Designers should be sure that sufficient flange load is available to obtain an initial seal and then maintain it over the long term.
3. Material is crushing or splitting, gasket is leaking.
This may be a result of too much flange load, or the design of the flange itself. It may also be a result of material that is not correct for the application, or it might be too soft for the designed flange load.
4. Gasket is fracturing due to expansion/contraction, creating a leak path.
High temperatures can cause flanges to move with the heat expansion. Some materials will not tolerate this growth and contraction and tear apart. This can be rectified with a surface coating (anti-slip) or a different material altogether.
5. Gasket is not suitable for the fluid contained.
Compatibility should be verified so it does not degrade when exposed to fluid.
6. Gasket material may be swelling, indicating that degradation is present.
Some degree of swelling is typically acceptable. However, excessive swelling is an indicator of breakdown of the material and a suggestion that long-term performance may be questionable.
Now You Know
Even though there are technically advanced gasket materials out there, nothing beats a great design. As a design engineer, your #1 goal is to design something that will meet the requirements of your application. Getting your gasket material manufacturer involved before testing to ensure the design and the gasket material will work together is only going to help you achieve your goal.
Why not do everything you can to have confidence in your design from the beginning?