Whether you are new to the fluid sealing market or you’ve been immersed in it for years, there are some considerations that must be made when you need to seal fluids. Some may be made subconsciously, but others sometimes require much debate and testing. This week, we thought we’d lay out the important questions that need to be asked (and why) when you are faced with a joint that requires fluid to be sealed.
1. What fluid are you sealing?
Is it Coolant? Oil? Fuel? Water? Other? This can affect your material choice.
2. At what temperature will it be operating?
It is best to identify operating usage extremes, to understand how the gasket and the fluid will age or withstand exposure to elevated temperatures for extended periods of time.
3. How aggressive is the fluid? Is it compatible with my gasket?
Some gaskets are designed to “swell” when in contact with fuels and oils. This “controlled swell” actually creates a better seal on the inside contact edge of the gasket. Of course compatibility must also be considered so the gasket does not disintegrate. A good example of what not to do is using a low cost exhaust material in an oil-sealing application. The material will be weakened by the absorbed fluid.
4. What sealability level do I need?
Sometimes in engine applications, additional features are added for various purposes. A silicone coating for “cold sealing” an engine is one example. This provides additional sealability while the engine is still warming to its operating conditions.
Sealing fluids can be a tricky project. When the goal is to find a material that will meet or exceed the design service life, you need a material that is right for your application. Your gasket material supplier is your best resource to talk through your material requirements. Whether you are in the planning stage, troubleshooting your current material, or on the hunt for a replacement material, a good supplier of gasket material is going to be with you every step of the way. Nobody knows our material better than we do!
What issues have you had with sealing fluids in your applications?