Under pressure? Absolutely. The increasingly high temperatures and harsh conditions to which gaskets are exposed makes selecting the right gasket all the more important.
In industries such as chemical processing, hydrocarbon refining, and power generation, leakage from extreme temperature process streams can result in loss of efficiency and production as well as adverse environmental impacts and compromised employee safety. One of the most commonly used sealing products in systems subject to high pressures and temperatures is a spiral-wound gasket. These gaskets typically consist of filler and winding materials selected on the basis of application requirements and end-user preference. Proper selection of these materials is critical to achieving the desired performance in all applications.
Sealing at temperatures above 850 ºF (454 ºC) is particularly challenging because of the limited number of filler materials that can resist thermal degradation at extreme temperatures – these temperatures affect both the sealing material and metal components. For instance, the yield strength of fasteners decreases as the temperature is increased. In addition certain chemicals can become more volatile and aggressive in high-temperature reaction processes.
The two most common filler materials in spiral-wound gaskets are graphite (can withstand temperatures up to 850 ºF) and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE; tolerance up to 500 ºF). Other filler materials are used mainly for their thermal insulating properties, not for sealability; these include mica, exfoliated mica, and ceramics. While graphite and PTFE perform satisfactorily in terms of temperature and chemical resistance, they have limitations. Graphite is not compatible with heavily oxidizing media at any temperature, nor can it withstand continuous operating temperatures above 850 ºF. Beyond 850 ºF, volume loss through oxidation becomes excessive and sealing effectiveness is compromised.
Many high-temperature systems, such as exhaust manifolds and flanged piping connections in exhaust systems, are oxidizing. Other services are oxidizing because of the operating temperature and media involved. Continue reading Gaskets Designed to Take the Heat