Sometimes a gasket needs to be more than just a gasket. There are times you may find that you are in need of an insulating gasket. There are also times that you could use an insulating gasket and don’t even realize it. If you’re not quite sure what you need, continue reading to learn about a few instances when an insulating gasket may be a benefit to your application.
Before we jump into a few examples, we thought we’d start with a short explanation on insulating gaskets in general. First, it isn’t a new gasket technology. Gaskets with insulative properties have been on the market for years. However, due to the increased heat in applications, the benefits of these materials are now in demand as engineers are constantly working to manage the heat.
So what are these materials? Metal reinforced composite laminates are your best choice when it comes to high temperature gaskets that also require insulative properties. Insulative materials by themselves can be fragile, the metal core gives them strength.
Reasons to Utilize an Insulating Gasket
1. There isn’t room for a heat shield.
Engines are getting both hotter and smaller, which is not a good combination if there are sensitive components that need protection. Designing a heat shield small enough to fit into some of these areas can be a difficult task. If there is a way to utilize the insulating properties of your gasket to reduce the heat flow, you may have solved your space issue.
2. Save money and simplify your design.
We don’t know any engineers that want to add cost and complexity to any design, so if there is a way to minimize both of these with simply a gasket, why wouldn’t you at least check it out?
3. You suspect heat soak is present.
All systems may be humming along while the application is running. However, what happens when it is turned off? Heat soak is a common issue when there are no cooling systems protecting sensitive components. An insulative gasket does its job whether or not the application is running. An example of this might be EGR valves, where actuators are better if they don’t get as hot as the valve itself. Heat soak can be an enemy here.
Selecting a Material
As with any application, you need to ensure that any gasket material chosen is suitable for the conditions that it will see. The best insulative materials are going to be metal reinforced composites that contain vermiculite, mica or fiber materials. Finding which one seals and insulates best in your application is something that will need to be tested. As you explore this idea, talk to your trusted gasket material supplier to narrow down your choices.