The fall guy…defined by the Urban Dictionary as “a person who is left with the blame for a crime, regardless of whether they were involved or not”. In our world, the fall guy is the lowly gasket. Too many times, gaskets tend to be an afterthought in the design process, BUT the gasket (or the material) is the first to be blamed if there are ever any problems in the application. If you are currently designing (or may ever design) an application that has gasketed joints, or are currently in the middle of troubleshooting (or may ever troubleshoot) because of a leak in a joint, this week’s post is for you!
Over the years, we have just about seen it all. We’ve been a part of varying stages of design projects….at times we’ve almost been a part of the design team, lending our expertise to help ensure success once the gasket is cut, and other times we come in at the tail end to suggest a material that will meet your exact specifications. We’ve also been the firefighters…driving in on our big red truck with hoses spraying (ok, not really…) to offer a gasket material solution when everything else you’ve tried isn’t working. Blame it on the design of the joint, blame it on the design of the gasket, blame it on the material, blame it on the rain….regardless, there are potential problems lurking everywhere and we’re here to help you navigate some of those issues. Everyone’s time (and money) is valuable and we want you to be educated and aware of what can be done to minimize your chances of a gasket blowout.
What You Need To Know
Protecting your product launch and the application from the damage a gasket blowout can cause is your #1 priority in design (or redesign). Nobody wants a gasket to be the reason a project can’t launch as planned. Like we mentioned above, your gasket may be the culprit, but the issue might also be something else entirely. Here are 7 things to consider to help protect your application from gasket blowouts.
1. Material choice
Designers must use caution to select a material that is suited for the operating conditions, including temperature, pressure, fluid resistance, durability (for handling), durability (in service), aging characteristics, and other factors.
Consider the peak exposure, and choose material capable of withstanding that level of exposure.
Sealing joints that are holding back high pressure need to have a gasket with reinforcement to provide radial strength. Be sure to choose reinforced material for high pressure joints.
4. Flange loading
Flanges are critical pieces of the bolted joint. Consideration must be given to: flange flatness, surface finish, stiffness, material (expansion), preparation, and others.
Joints must be assembled properly to recommended torque values and sequence. Often with compressible products, a second round of final torque once operating temperature has been achieved is also helpful to maintain load over long-term service.
Some gaskets exposed to extreme conditions can benefit by additional protection which shields the gasket body from destructive conditions. Heat flow, fluid erosion, and other “wear effects” can be protected against by flange rings, embossments, coatings, and other protective measures.
Generally speaking, the thinnest gasket you can use is the best choice. Thickness gets increased to compensate for flange conditions or other factors. Thinner gaskets have less chance for blowout than thick ones since the load is concentrated over less volume, providing higher shear strength to prevent blowout.
We love a good gasket blowout picture – send us yours, and we just might feature it in an upcoming article. If you are interested in subscribing to Sealed-In’s blog posts, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Is Torque Retention, and Why Do I Care?
Torque retention isn’t necessarily something that can be measured and published as a gasket material property, but compressibility, recovery, and creep relaxation values have a direct effect on a good torque retention value (along with a good seal). Below, we have listed a few general questions to help those of you that are less familiar with this concept start to gain an understanding.
8 Ways to Find a Reliable Gasket Material Manufacturer
There are many reasons why you could be looking for a reliable gasket material manufacturer. We put together a short list of ways to start your search to help ensure you find someone that could soon fall into the “reliable” category for you.
Dreading that work to qualify a new material? Here are 4 reasons why you should just bite the bullet.
Good old qualified-material. Sometimes it is your best friend and sometimes it is your worst enemy. However, when you are stuck in the fuzzy grey area, maybe only 1 (maybe 2) of the 3 qualities is bad, the questions always arise…(How bad is it? We can make it work, can’t we? Isn’t dealing with it easier than qualifying a new material?) We get it, qualifying new material is A LOT of work. We thought it would be good to list some of the common arguments against qualifying a new material and follow it up with some reasons to just bite the bullet.
6 Warning Signs That You May Be On The Path To A Poor Gasket Design
You may be wondering what a gasket material supplier is doing writing about poor gasket design. Over the years we have seen our fair share of design flaws, and just before launch, everyone is scrambling to find a gasket material that will make up for the deficiencies in the design. If you are currently designing a gasket, or may ever design a gasket, read on for some gasket design warning signs and how they can negatively affect how well your gasket will seal.
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? We have put together a list of considerations for those working with gaskets in situations where a gasket is being replaced.