How well do you understand the differences between O-rings and gaskets? Can you readily identify situations where each type of seal should be used? There are specific situations where each technology is needed because they are designed for completely different conditions.
Today, we thought we’d dig a little deeper into gasket vs. O-ring.
Gasket vs. O-ring
What exactly is an O-ring?
If you are envisioning a rubber ring, you are right! However, they aren’t quite that simple. An O-ring is a precisely molded shape with a specific profile to fit into a specific channel or groove. These profiles can be various shapes and the polymer (type of rubber) can also vary greatly. Infinite formulas can be made to address specific sealing situations.
Where and how are they used?
O-rings are known for their ability to seal extremely high pressures. Here is a short list of some of the more common places where you would find them.
- Hydraulic seals
- Pipe joints
- Fluid seal points in equipment
- Oil seals
- Fuel systems
How does this differ from gaskets?
When you move away from engineered seals like O-rings, the next technology to use in the sealing family is a gasket. These typically require a flat flange and a bolted joint. Gaskets are by far the most versatile seal, with different shapes, materials, coatings, methods, etc. Depending on the type of material chosen, they can seal at a wide range of temperatures and pressures. Composite (metal-reinforced) materials provide some of the strongest heat and pressure resistance (as far as gaskets go) in the market today. For more information about these materials, view our post What Is a Metal-Reinforced Gasket and Why Do I Need One?.
How do gaskets with rings compare to an O-ring?
Some of you may know that adding a ring to your gasket design adds another layer of protection against increased pressure. Rings make a good gasket even stronger. View our post Should I Put a Ring On It? (Your Gasket, That Is) to get a better understanding of this technology. In light of our discussion today regarding O-rings, the next logical question is how does a gasket with a ring compare to an O-ring? The simple answer is that the O-ring requires a channel or groove in the flanges, while a gasket can perform with a simpler, flat flange. O-rings are typically used when pressures are higher, with the channel present to prevent blowout.
Choose Your Technology
Once you truly understand all of the engineering behind all of the various sealing technologies, the decision on what should be used is very clear. Until then, talk to your contacts in the sealing industry to better understand what your options are for a specific application.
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What Is A Metal-Reinforced Gasket and Why Do I Need One?
For starters, the terms ‘metal-reinforced gasket’ and ‘composite gasket’ are synonyms. The most common types of composite gaskets consist of a facing material chemically or mechanically bonded to a piece of metal (think of an Oreo).
Gasket Material Showdown: Vermiculite vs Graphite
Have you ever been doing research on a product and instead of being forced to read through a lot of mumbo-jumbo, you just want a nice eye chart with a little bit of explanation around it? Well, if you’re researching gasket materials and specifically want to see the differences between vermiculite and graphite, you’re in luck!
Should I Put A Ring On It? (Your Gasket, That Is)
Have you ever been faced with the decision of whether your gaskets are going to need a ring or not? Beyoncé once famously told us, “If you like it, then you should have put a ring on it.” Fortunately, your decision is going to be based on data and not emotion, and it’s also comparatively much less expensive and (hopefully) not a life-changing decision for you.
Why A Metal-Reinforced Gasket May Not Be For You
We’re going to shoot you straight…you may never be in need of a metal-reinforced gasket. There. We said it. You could call us up tomorrow and ask for gasket material for XYZ application, and after telling us about your needs, we’d tell you that you would be better off spending your money elsewhere. What kind of sales pitch is that? Well, it’s an honest one.