Systems and industrial processes that involve the transportation of any substance, from liquid to gas and solid, inevitably in some form have to consider the topic of gasket sealing and combat the problem of leakage.
It’s a multi-faceted issue with a range of different factors and solutions depending on the circumstance. What will work in your specific situation will depend on a range of variables. Each of these are situational and will rely on professional expertise to determine, as there are almost too many to cover in a single article.
We have tried to cover a selection of some of the most important factors you should consider when it comes to buying the most appropriate seals and gaskets for your next job
Consider the environment of the seals. As an example, tankers carrying natural gas require it to be liquefied and cooled before shipping, which can expose it to extreme cold. This requires special seals and gaskets to be used – in this instance, flexible graphite and PTFE are most commonly used for what’s known as cryogenic sealing. Likewise, if you were to be working in an environment with extreme heat, you would need to take that into account when determining the most appropriate seals and gaskets.
Similar to temperature, pressure is another major factor to consider. This will of course depend on what is being transported, but specialised environments like those with high pressure and/or low temperature need special consideration. It’s important to also consider whether these variables are static or if they fluctuate. In general, projects with a high degree of fluctuation will exert extra stresses on the gaskets and seals, requiring extra maintenance.
This is an obvious, but nevertheless important, factor. It’s also not one that is considered once and then forgotten – there are times when the application changes and the current gaskets are no longer fit for purpose, for whatever reason. Then you need to take into consideration the application in order to determine the most appropriate seals and gaskets for the job.
This is a topic too broad to cover in one article, but suppliers such as Cotter Marketing have a wide range of different seals and gaskets, so you will almost certainly be able to find the best ones for the job, whatever the case.
Sometimes factors outside the scope of the job can affect your choices. Local and government regulations can sometimes be a determining factor in what type of seals and gaskets you use. This can be as part of a push to reduce leaks in a system, or it can be done for health and safety regulations. An example of this would be asbestos removal, as some gaskets for specific situations like high pressure steam systems can contain asbestos. These can be a pain sometimes and make the choice of seals and gaskets less than ideal, but it’s important that a job be completed in compliance with all relevant regulations for the client.
Another common regulatory factor is for use cases involving the preparation of food and drink for consumption. Certain types of seals and gaskets may not be used in this case, so it’s important that you’re aware of which seals and gaskets meet regulatory requirements for the proposed use case. There are also other factors you need to account for when it comes to seals and gaskets for food production. For example, sometimes gaskets come with adhesives that are used to help secure the gasket in position during installation. If this applies to the gaskets you are using, you need to make sure that adhesive is safe for use in cases of food production. This is just one example of factors you might not think about on initial consideration, which is why it’s so important to be thorough!
Wear and tear
While this is a factor applicable in all cases, sometimes it’s more relevant than others. For a number of reasons, seals and gaskets may start to fail ahead of the historical average. These situations often come hand in hand with unhappy clients, who will no doubt be looking for seals and gaskets with a longer service life, both to reduce instances of wear and tear and to increase ROI through lower maintenance costs. Understanding the client’s situation is key to picking the correct seals and gaskets that will hold up for as long as possible.
Buying high quality seals and gaskets from reputable suppliers such as Cotter Marketing can help ensure that the materials used for the job last as long as possible. While wear and tear is inevitable and unavoidable to some extent, it can at least be mitigated by buying materials that are made to last.
It’s very important to be aware of the nature of the substances that will be flowing through the gaskets. This will be highly job dependent, but if you choose a gasket made from material which is inappropriate for the substance, there’s a possibility of it interacting with the substance. This could either contaminate the substance or compromise the integrity of the gasket, potentially leading to leaks or worse. In cases where the chemical interaction of substance and gasket is unsure, it may even require testing in a laboratory setting prior to installation in order to be sure there is no chemical interaction.
When it comes to chemical compatibility, all of the above factors must also be considered, as they can affect the chemical interactions. Variables like temperature, pressure and time can change what may initially seem like a safe and appropriate material for the substance into one that is inappropriate.
Factors such as flange material and flange design need to be considered when it comes to gasket selection. Fragile flange materials like glass, plastic and FRP will require gasket material that seals with low bolt loads. By contrast, flange materials like metal will require different gasket materials suitable for sealing high bolt loads.
Full-face flanges and tongue-and-groove flanges are different types of flange design that can also affect what the best gasket selection is for the job to ensure that seals are flush and do not leak.
There are many different factors to consider when selecting the best gaskets and seals for the job at hand. This article has touched on just six of the factors that need to be considered, but it is by no means extensive. Every job is different, and every job needs to be fully and carefully considered in isolation.
There are myriad different gaskets and seals to choose from and it is important that the correct one is chosen to ensure that the job is carried out safely and the finished project will hold for as long as necessary.
Whatever the best gasket is, buying from a reputable supplier such as Cotter Marketing will help ensure that the gaskets you use are of the highest quality and will provide the best value for money.
Speak to our team today for more advice.