Gaskets and seals are available in a variety of materials and shapes in order to fit the various industrial uses that they are required to undertake. This means that some gaskets and seals are ideal for one kind of application, but very unsuitable for another. Other types however, are good all-rounders.
Gaskets are used to prevent leakage between two flat surfaces of a component or flange. They are commonly used in industries such as gas, paper, oil, electrical and automotive. A variety of materials are used in the manufacture of gaskets including Neoprene, Rubber, Nitrile, VITON™ , Graphite, Cork and SBR. Each material has its own properties that make it useful for certain purposes. For example, Cork and Graphite both work well under high rates of compression.
There are a few different types of gaskets. Ring gaskets are found in off-shore oil and gas pipelines. These types of gaskets are solid rings of metal that operate under extremely high pressure. Sheet gaskets get their name as they are ‘punched’ out of a sheet of material (such as synthetic rubber). These gaskets are used to seal pipes and tanks containing chemicals, amongst other uses.
Seals prevent leakages between two moving parts such as shaft, oil pumps and engine parts. Seals are generally round and flat, with a metal outer ring and an inner rubber surface. This surface is tilted to create a lip, creating a second barrier to seal off any drops of liquid that pass initially. As with gaskets, there are specific types of seals manufactured for specific purposes. Shaft seals are designed to seal the ends of shafts, whereas O-rings create a seal when under pressure.