If you work with applications that see high or extreme temperatures, chances are, you probably need an insulative gasket somewhere in the application. Whether this is something that you have actively thought about or not, we’re here to give you the rundown about insulative gaskets and the materials they are made from.
Before we get going, we thought it would be interesting to get your thoughts on insulative gasket materials.
Why Do I Need One?
Today’s engines are burning hotter than ever. With the increased temperatures, it is becoming more common to have components that must be protected from the heat. A lot of times, an easy and inexpensive way to do this is with your gasket. An insulative gasket will insulate the heat on one side of the flange, keeping the heat away from these sensitive components. You already need to invest in a gasket, and depending on the material chosen, you may also be forced to invest in a heat shield. If you make the right material selection and combine the two, you can kill two birds with one stone.
Your engine can get even hotter due to heat soak. When the engine is off, you can’t rely on the cooling systems to protect the components. Don’t fret…some gasket materials are even known for their ability to move the heat, which results in a cooling effect.
What Gasket Material Should I Select?
Let’s say that you need an insulative gasket. What material should it be made out of? There are a lot of gasket technologies out there. Which one works the best?
First, with high temperature applications, you really have two options. If we’re talking about surviving heat in general (insulation not needed), most people will select either a metal-reinforced composite laminate or embossed stainless steel (MLS/SLS). With the proper material selection, both have comparable performance levels. When you start getting more into the extreme heat (in excess of 800°F), you’ll find that you need to move more into the composites.
However, if you need an insulative gasket, your ONLY option is a metal-reinforced composite laminate, no matter what the temperature. This material is the only one with insulative properties and steel reinforcement, and the only one that can be constructed to specifically meet the needs of a particular application (if the need arises). Stainless steel shims heat up right along with everything else in the engine and won’t insulate. Composites with graphite, vermiculite, mica, and certain types of fibers are necessary to provide some heat management.
Finding the Right Composite
Talk to your trusted gasket material supplier if you are in need of an insulative gasket. Based on the requirements and the environment it will need to survive in, they should be able to give you a few options. If they can’t, keep looking until you find someone who can.