What the heck is a Gasket?
What is a Gasket?
Have you ever been told that you need a gasket for a certain household task? Or been sent to the store to pick up a gasket for the snow blower, or lawn mower?
Well, a gasket can be used for various applications, depending on what you’re talking about. A good general description would be a mechanical seal put between two connecting surfaces. A gasket’s primary purpose is to seal the connection and help prevent leakage, while under compression.
A gasket is also good for sealing two connecting surfaces that might be less than perfect or smooth. Gaskets are also used for anti-vibration, noise reduction, steam pipes, automotive, food production and many other applications.
Here at Appleton Packing & Gasket, we are a manufacturer of gaskets, so let’s dig a little deeper into the manufacturing of gaskets, and which materials are most commonly used to make gaskets.
What are Gaskets made of?
When you go to a store to buy a generic gasket, maybe for a small project at home, you would most likely find gaskets that are made of black rubber or cork. There are also some solutions for the most common sealing applications, such as Teflon tape for plumbing purposes. Some stores will even sell small pieces of more standard material, like cork, which the end user can utilize to fabricate their own gaskets.
But because gaskets have a wide selection of applications, there has to be a wide range of materials to match those needs. Most gaskets are cut from sheet or roll goods, and are fabricated, or essentially “punched out”, with a press. Some of the more common examples of sheet goods include rubber (Nitrile, Neoprene, Red Rubber), Silicone, Felt, Graphite, or PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), also known as Teflon.
From there, each material has its mechanical characteristics and a different set of qualities to meet application needs. Certain materials are better in applications with high heat, or high compression or in situations where it comes into contact with specific types of chemicals. , like high heat, and high load, force, or compression. This illustrates why each detail of the application for a gasket plays a major part in figuring out which material will work best for you, and why it’s so important to work with someone you trust to determine those needs.
Is there a general design for gaskets?
Not really. Have you ever wonder why stores don’t keep stock of gaskets for this item or that item? Well this has to do with the fact gaskets are used in a wide variety of applications, so stocking EVERY gasket needed would be near impossible, and impractical for a business. Not all gaskets are the same. Nor is the application or industry in which gaskets are used.