Gaskets are one of the most common types of mechanical seals. You can find them in automotive engines, air conditioning (AC) systems, fuel tanks and manufacturing machines. Like all mechanical seals, gaskets are designed to protect against leaks. They create a sealed environment while trapping pressurized gases, air or liquids. This post reveals fun facts about gaskets, some of which may surprise you.
#1) Not the Same as O-Rings
Contrary to common belief, gaskets aren’t the same as O-rings. Both gaskets and O-rings are classified as mechanical seals. O-rings, however, are characterized by their shape. All O-rings are shaped like a donut, whereas gaskets typically feature a larger and more unique shape. With their donut shape, O-rings are typically used to seal a single mating surface. Gaskets, on the other hand, are used to seal two or more mating surfaces.
#2) Available in Dozens of Materials
Gaskets are available in dozens of materials. You can find them in metal metals, such as aluminum and stainless steel. Other materials in which gaskets are made include acrylic, glass, felt, polyethylene, nitrile, cellulose, sponge rubber, cork, ceramic paper, and non-asbestos fiber. Each material has its own unique properties. Therefore, it’s important to choose gaskets in the right material.
#3) Some Feature Compression Rings
Some gaskets feature compression rings. Compression rings are typically found in gaskets that are used for high-pressure sealing applications. They consist of donut-shaped pieces of material — similar to O-rings — that are embedded around the mating surface areas of a gasket. Compression rings are designed to resist the compressive forces of pressurized gases, air or liquids.
#4) Sheet Is the Most Common Type
The most common type of gasket is sheet. Sheet gaskets are defined by their method of production. They are produced by punching out sections of a piece of thin, sheet-like material. The sheet-like material is solid at first. Punching, though, will remove sections of the sheet-like material so that it can be used as a gasket. All gaskets that are produced using this method are known as sheet gaskets.
#5) Can Protect Against Different Types of Leaks
Gaskets can protect against different types of leaks. While some of them are only designed to prevent a single substance from leaking, others are designed to prevent multiple substances from leaking. Automotive engines, for instance, have gaskets to prevent both coolant and combustion gases from leaking. They contain passages for both of these substances, which they seal in their respective sections.