A gasket is a key component used in the manufacturing industry. It’s used to create a seal between two or more surface, preventing leakage of air and/or liquids. In some manufacturing processes, the two surfaces can be secured together without the need for a gasket. If the surfaces are flawed or under pressure, however, a gasket can prove invaluable in creating a tight seal.
Automotive engines, for instance, typically contain a gasket between the cylinder head and cylinder block. Known as a head gasket, it prevents leakages of combustion gases, oil and coolant. If a head gasket is breached or otherwise damage, combustion gasses produced in the engine may leak into the vehicle’s cooling system, causing the vehicle to overheat. A blown head gasket may also cause coolant and oil to leak together. When this occurs, neither the engine oil nor coolant will work efficiently, thus causing degradation of the engine and its components.
Materials of Construction
Gaskets are made of a variety of different materials. While steel is the most common material in which head gaskets are made, other gaskets are made of rubber, silicone, cork, felt, nitrile, fiberglass and Teflon. Fiberglass is often preferred because of its ability to withstand excessive pressure. It’s not uncommon for fiberglass gaskets to withstand up to 2,000 pounds per square inch (PSI) pressure.
The Different Types of Gaskets
There are dozens of different types of gaskets, each of which has a specific purpose. A sheet gasket, for example, is an inexpensive gasket that’s made of punched-out metal or composite materials. They are often used in applications where corrosives are common. A solid material gasket is made of heavier, stronger metals that cannot be punched. This makes them stronger and more durable than their sheet gasket counterparts. There are also spiral wound gaskets, which live up to their namesake by featuring a spiral-like design of alternating metals and materials.
Some gaskets are designed for specific applications, such as the flange gasket. A flange gasket is a small circular component that’s installed between two pieces of flared pipe to increase its sueface area.
It’s important to choose high-quality gaskets for maximum protection and longevity. When a gasket fail, it can cause serious problems for the surfaces to which it’s connected. In automobiles, a failed head gasket can cause thousands of dollars in engine damage. In other manufacturing processes, it can cause products to break or stop working as intended.