3 Reasons Why It May Matter Which Side of the Gasket Is Up

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Which side of a gasket needs to face up? Ok, maybe a gasket having sides isn’t one of the great hypothetical questions of our time, but have you ever really thought about it? Believe it or not, there are instances where it matters. Whether you have spent any time debating this with others or not, here are a few things that you need to know.

This Side Up

Here’s how to know if your gasket has a “this side up”.

1. Fitment and Alignment

Some gaskets are nearly identical on both sides, but often there is a slight alignment issue either for the bolt holes or ports. Be sure to have the proper side so it assembles properly.

2. Surface

Some gaskets are directional, meaning they only go one way. This can be for heat purposes. For example, our single-sided Armor material is designed to go with the hot side against the head surface and the soft side against the irregular surface of the manifold/header.

3. Coatings

Sometimes gaskets are coated to aid in their performance. It is possible to apply an anti-stick coating to only one side to aid in removal. Similarly, some gaskets will have a PSA (pressure-sensitive-adhesive) applied for assembly. This also must be applied to the proper side.

What Happens If I’m Wrong?

Well, the good news is that not all gasket designs require a specific side to be up. If you use a gasket where it does matter, and you get it wrong, you’ll definitely know it. Some of the issues you may see include leaking due to port alignment, crush due to bolting issues, sticking if the coating is on the wrong side, etc.

If you flip the gasket over and still see issues, you may have a problem with the joint or the gasket material being used. Talk with your trusted gasket material supplier. They may be able to provide some insight into the problems that you are encountering to help with your troubleshooting.

Until next time!Armor product comparison

Is There A Fluid Leak In Your Joint? Here’s What You Need To Know.

If you work with applications that require a gasket, four words you never want to hear are: “We’ve got a leak”. (We know there are others, but we’ll just focus on gaskets since that’s what we can help with.) There are a lot of factors that can contribute to a leak, and getting to the root cause can sometimes be a difficult task.

Today, we’re going to take a deep dive into some of the potential causes of your fluid leak. As you’ll see, you can’t always just blame your gasket. Below are a few reasons why your joint may be leaking fluid, and what you can do about it.

Why Am I Leaking Fluids?

1. Is your gasket material compatible with the fluid you’re sealing?

Not all materials are created equal when it comes to sealing fluids. Some gasket materials are designed to “swell”, creating a better seal when coming in contact with fluids and oils. However, some fluids can actually disintegrate improperly chosen gasket materials. Be sure you understand the interaction between what you are sealing and the gasket material.

2. You might have a design problem.

You’ll want to do your homework with this one. Design problems can be a big issue. Is your joint loaded sufficiently, and is the load distributed properly and evenly? Do you see any flange distortion? What is the finish and the flatness of the flange? Unless you can find a gasket material that can compensate for the design issues, you’ll be back to square one. If this is the case, be sure to investigate all of your material options before entering into a redesign. There are materials out there that can compensate for a lot of design issues, so be sure to talk to a gasket material expert to help you find the right solution.

3. What is your internal pressure?

If there is too much pressure for the material chosen, a change may need to be made. High pressure can force leaks. A gasket design may require reinforcement with a metal core or from a flange ring to contain the pressure.

4. Is your material rated for the temperatures in your application?

If your material is burning or oxidizing away, take a look at your temperatures. A lot of times, internal temperatures can very easily exceed what was intended in the design phase once you start testing. You may need to get your hands on a higher temp-rated material.

5. You might have expansion/contraction issues.

Does it look like thermal expansion is tearing your gasket apart and causing a leak? If so, can you add a coating to provide lubricity? This would allow the surface to “slip”, thus accommodating this effect. If not, you may need to look at more robust materials.

6. None of the above.

If the issue is still a mystery, look at the history of similar applications to see if there is anything obvious that stands out as a factor. Historical comparisons can sometimes be a helpful troubleshooting method.

Stopping the Leak

Dealing with unexpected results can be incredibly frustrating, and with a fluid leak, it is very easy to just assume the gasket is the issue and start testing various materials just to find a solution. Taking the time to really understand the underlying causes of your problem will help you make a much more educated decision. Once you start to understand why your joint is leaking, talk to your trusted gasket material supplier. They should be able to suggest a material that will better fit the requirements of your application.

Until next time!surbond-comparison