In many of today’s newer applications, the surface finish of the flange is almost always something that must be addressed due to the popularity of selecting SLS (single-layer steel) and MLS (multi-layer steel) gaskets for applications. The cost associated with the machining required to create and maintain these mirror-smooth surfaces is something that needs to be considered during the design phase.
For some of you newer engineers, you probably see this as a way of life when it comes to designing a joint. However, it is important to know that there are other solutions that do not require the expensive machining for the flanges, and they work well in the aftermarket (where the stainless steel shims typically do not). Have we caught your interest? Keep on reading for more.
Does Surface Finish Matter?
Composite (a.k.a. perforated core, metal-reinforced) gasket materials are known for their performance and ability to seal at elevated temperatures. (See our blog post What Qualifies as ‘High Temperature’ When Talking About Gaskets?) Not only are they one of the best technologies out there for high-temperature applications, they are also one of the best at compensating for imperfect flanges.
Imperfect flanges…this leads us to think of two questions immediately.
1. What causes imperfect flanges?
They can be caused by many things, all of which cause detriment to the joint if there isn’t a proper gasket material holding the seal. Imperfect flanges can be a result of cast surfaces, improper machining, temperature distortion, or damage from gasket removal, to name a few.
2. Why are composites good at compensating for imperfect flanges?
This is due to the construction of the materials. The laminate is comprised of a compressible facing material that will conform to flange irregularities and configurations, while a metal core provides rigidity and structure to the gasket while maintaining the facing against the flange.
One Less Worry
There is no perfect gasket material. However, it is important to do your homework on the various technologies and decide what is going to reduce the risk (and the cost) the most for you in your design. While it is comfortable to keep using a technology because you’ve used it in the past, it is good to at least look around once in a while to be sure you have the best fit for a particular application. If a more forgiving gasket material is going to increase your chances of maintaining a seal, then talk to your trusted gasket material supplier to see what your options are.
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What Qualifies as 'High Temperature' When Talking About Gaskets?
If you ask half a dozen application engineers and gasket fabricators what they consider to be ‘high temperature’ in regards to their selection of a gasket material, you’re likely to get a range of answers. You’ll also find that none of them are really wrong, since ‘high temperature’ is a relative term. So, how does one navigate the world of high temperature gasket materials when the terminology is so ambiguous?
Uneven Temperature Exposure – Is There A Solution?
We have recently been looking at applications that have uneven temperature exposure around the perimeter of gaskets. In some cases, one side sees more heat than the other. From the material manufacturing side, there are a number of things we can do...
6 Ways To Make Life Easier If You Work In High Temp Applications
Once you really understand how to deal with high temperature applications and what you need to know to start the process of selecting the right material for these applications, you’ve won half the battle. Here are a few tips and items of note that will get you moving in the right direction.
The Top 5 Things to Remember When Working with Gaskets for Service Applications
Not all gaskets go into brand new applications straight off the production line. There are many gaskets used across the aftermarket, in service operations and in engine rebuilding. Do the same rules and considerations apply to the seal points and gaskets in service applications as they do in OEM manufacturing?
Why Would I Use Composite Gasket Material When I Can Use MLS?
Whether you are someone that has been a fan of MLS for awhile, or someone who has been a loyal fan of composite but just needs a reminder about why you’ve stuck with it for so long, here are the reasons you should (or still should) consider composite material the next time you need gasket material.
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.