Have you ever been sitting around in a meeting room talking about how thick a gasket should be for your application? There were probably a few differing opinions on the subject, but we’re willing to bet at least one person said “How thick can we make it? In my opinion, the thicker we can make it, the better it will seal.” If there wasn’t someone with gasket experience in the room, you all may have headed down that path and designed one heck of a gasket!
Believe it or not, sometimes a thinner gasket is exactly what you need in your application. There is a place for all thicknesses, just like there is a place for all types of gasket materials. Throughout your design and testing process, the engineering team needs to figure out what will work best for your application.
How Thick Does My Gasket Need To Be?
To help you dial in on where you need to be for your application, we put together a short list of considerations to aid in your decision making process.
1. What is the flange load and desired compression?
2. What is the flange condition: stiffness, flatness, surface finish, expected deflection?
3. What imperfections or warpage/deformation do you see (or expect to see) when hot?
4. What is the user preference and perception about the thickness of the gasket?
Generally, the thinnest gasket you can use is going to be the best option. “Thin” will minimize compressibility while providing better load retention and recovery properties. However, when faced with these four considerations, gaskets must be made thicker to compensate for these factors. Gaskets are made thicker to accommodate flanges that deflect and warp, rougher surface or non-flat flanges, etc. In some engine applications, there have been soft, compressible gaskets used up to 0.250” thick or more! Designer preference can also play a role here, as many engine applications tend to be 1/16” gaskets as the best compromise of “thick vs. thin”.
Test It Out
Once you decide the thickness you want to start testing with, you may find that you need to adjust your gasket material selection based on the results. Testing is really the only way to tell if something truly is going to work, but with enough experience, a great gasket material supplier can get you as close as anyone! Knowing the materials inside and out is our business.
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