A gasket is a seal that is manufactured to fit between two or more surfaces, such as two lengths of piping. The gasket is designed prevent leakage whilst being subjected to varying levels of compression. Oil rigs and refineries use a large amount of gaskets where they must deal with high compressive loads without leaking the oils and gases the pipes are carrying.
Gaskets are commonly used in industry to seal boilers, pipes and fuel tanks. Car and lorry engines are fitted with gaskets to create a seal between the cylinders and the cylinder head. Off-shore oil and gas pipelines use ring gaskets as seals. They are chosen because their solid metal construction can operate under extremely high pressure.
The chemicals industry makes use of sheet gaskets to seal for pipes and tanks. Made from synthetic rubber, the gaskets are ‘punched’ out of a sheet of material. As well as corrosive chemicals, the gaskets are used to handle acids and steam.
Older seals use kammprofile gaskets which are highly suitable for this purpose thanks to their reliable and flexible construction. Featuring a solid metal corrugated core with a flexible covering layer, the kammprofile gasket can withstand high compression levels and creates a tight seal.
Gaskets can be manufactured from non-metallic, metallic and semi-metallic materials to fit differing needs. Gaskets are created from several materials, both metallic and non-metallic, as well as semi-metallic. These materials include stainless steel, nickel, aluminium, solid silicone, neoprene, VITON™ and cork.
A gasket is required to change shape and fill tight spaces, often under high pressure. It should also be malleable enough to fill irregularly shaped spaces in pipes and fuel tanks. Therefore, whichever type of material is used, a certain amount of ‘give’ is required.