Tag Archives: gasket

Enhanced Surface Profiles for Gaskets

How this feature can improve performance and efficiency with gaskets

Gaskets have always been part of industrial production. However, gaskets have not always been forgiving, easy to use or simple to remove. What if the sealing products were designed to optimize the work put into them? What if the design had a level of intelligence built in? What if the design could make up for equipment damage? When used properly, enhanced surface profiles for gaskets can reduce leaks, spills and other releases that can damage the environment, put people at risk, result in fines and lead to costly downtime.

Using surface profiling to reduce area and increase stress is found in everyday life, from the soles of running shoes to the treads on vehicle tires. Reducing the contact area while maintaining compressive force results in increased stress. In the case of gaskets, traction or friction between a gasket and the flange faces is critical to holding internal pressure. If the downward force created by the fasteners in a flange is diluted or spread over a larger area, the overall stress is reduced.

Compressibility

Adding raised features to the surface of a gasket to reduce contact area and increase stress also tends to impact compressibility. Compressibility represents the ability of the gasket to conform to the surfaces it is being used to seal. Flange surfaces usually show signs of wear, pitting, scratches or other defects. It is cost-prohibitive to make two mating flange faces smooth and flat enough to seal without a gasket. The more compressible a gasket is, the better chance the user has of attaining an effective seal.

picture showing different gasket views
Image 1. (clockwise left to right) Traditional material sees heavier load around the gasket bolts and lighter load farther from the bolts. Image 2. Load distributed more evenly. Image 3. More stress toward the bolts. Image 4. Stress spread evenly around the gasket. (Images courtesy of Garlock)

Pressure Resistance

Compressibility also impacts the amount of pressure exposure on the gasket. When a flange assembly is pressurized, the internal media pushes outward on the inner diameter of the gasket. The thinner a gasket becomes, the less outward force it sees from internal pressure. This is referred to as improved “blowout resistance.” Unfortunately, one common error made when a gasket blows out is to replace it with a thicker gasket. This puts more gasket surface in the pipe or vessel for the internal pressure to act on.

Sealability

To create an effective seal, there are two functions the gasket must accomplish.

First, it needs to conform to the flange face to prevent the media from passing between itself and the flange faces. This is where the compressibility is important. Continue reading Enhanced Surface Profiles for Gaskets

The Lifespan of a Gasket

The Dreaded Gasket Blowout Call

Have you ever received the dreaded 2 a.m. call from plant staff saying that things are at a standstill – production is down?

You arrive at the plant, walk through the parking lot, coffee in hand, and head to the locker room. When you come out on to the plant floor, there are several people staring at you with a look of panic on their faces as steam or process chemical sprays from a pipe flange.

Prognosis……gasket blowout.

You think to yourself “didn’t we just replace that gasket?”, or perhaps “we should have replaced it during the last shutdown but chose not to because of time constraints or cost cutting.

If this scenario is new to you, you are lucky and you can go back to sleep… the 2 a.m. call was a wrong number. If it’s not new to you, this means you are most likely a Plant Supervisor, Maintenance Manager or Plant Personnel in some capacity.

Roll up your sleeves, grab your torque wrench and let’s get to work!

Gasket Lifespan

Picture of NSF Compliant GasketsIf I had a nickel for every time someone asked me, “How long will my gasket last?” I would be a rich man. As you can probably guess, “How long will my gasket last?” is a loaded question to which the practical, factual, and political answer is… an Application Engineer’s nightmare!

A gasket may last 5 years, or it could last 20 years. I cannot give you an exact date or lifespan of a gasket; however I can give you some insight into factors that will give your gasket the best chance at a long and prosperous life between the flanges.

Continue reading The Lifespan of a Gasket

Water Regulations and NSF 61 Compliant Elastomers

Replacing Aging Water Infrastructure With NSF Compliant Materials

There are over 155,000 public water systems in the United States and more than 286 million Americans who rely on community water systems daily.  Since most of the infrastructure was built between the early 1900’s and 1960 using outdated technology/products and capabilities, nearly everything is approaching the natural end of it’s lifespan.

Some estimates put the repairs and replacement of thePicture of NSF Compliant Gaskets infrastructure between $250B and $500B over the next 20-30 years. Several applications will need to be updated or fully replaced for the safety of consumers and quality of delivery, including:

  • Joining and sealing materials
  • Mechanical devices
  • Pipes or related products
  • Process media
  • Plumbing devices
  • Non-metallic potable water materials
  • Hydrants
  • and Public drinking water distribution (tanks and reservoirs, maters, individual components)

Joining and Sealing Materials

When these systems were being constructed and assembled decades ago, there were limited regulations and requirements that needed to be met. Gaskets, at least the traditional ones, were often made in two different ways: (1) Red Rubber (ASTM D1330 Grade 1 &2) with compressed non-asbestos or (2) cloth-inserted rubber with compressed asbestos.

However, today’s acceptable gasket requirements for the potable water industry differ greatly from those in the past. Gaskets have strict guidelines to abide by and must be:

  • Chemically resistant
  • NSF compliant
  • Food grade compliant
  • Electrically isolating

Because of the need for health and safety, the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) was created in order to establish minimum requirements for the control of potential adverse human health effects from products that contact drinking water. In addition to gaskets, the NSF covers a variety of products and parts relevant to the water industry, including: pipes, hoses, fittings, cements, coatings, gaskets, adhesives, lubricants, media, water meters, valves, filters, faucets, fountains, and more.

So you might ask – why does the NSF require different materials and regulations for gaskets compared to years ago?

First things first – leaks are a major issue with the aging infrastructure. Improperly placed gaskets & seals or faulty products can cause leaks. This in turn could pose health risks to people drinking potable water or using products processed with potable water.

Additionally, the treatment process and chemicals utilized are Picture of NSF 61 Compliant Sealsdifferent from previous “standard” products. For example, research and testing over many years has concluded that traditional gaskets, which were used many years ago, could pose a safety threat to those drinking water processed with specific materials. This led to updated regulations for NSF 61’s drinking water system components.

Lastly, engineered sealing solutions are more important than ever. There’s a wide variety of custom engineered water systems throughout the U.S. – climate, geographic terrain, and the needs of the community are all reasons for why water infrastructure is so unique. Because of this, custom gaskets, seals, and other products are needed to supplement those systems.

Luckily there are many companies dedicated to providing the highest quality NSF 61 products. These trusted brands have proven materials to count-on when replacing or repairing water infrastructure:

Garlock’s NSF 61 Family of products

Parker’s NSF compliant products

Freudenberg’s new generation of NSF products

For more information on how Gallagher Fluid Seals’s engineers can help you with a custom solution, call us at 800.822.4063

FDA Standards Key to Proper Gasket Selection

Food and beverage producers rely on a wide array of equipment to ensure their products are safe and free of contamination. Sealing devices such as gaskets are key components in this equipment, yet do not receive the attention they warrant given the critical importance of their function.

Gasket Selection - PTFE
PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) Molecule

PTFE-based and elastomeric seals have for decades been the products of choice for food and beverage applications. The two most commonly referenced Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards for sealing products are found in the Code of Federal Regulations under Title 21 (Food and Drugs), part 177 (Indirect Food Additives: Polymers). Section 177.1550 focuses on perfluorocarbons such as PTFE- based products, and Section 177.2600 deals with rubber articles intended for repeated use.

These two standards specify which ingredients used in the production of sealing products are acceptable for applications where contact with food products can occur, as well as how much of the approved ingredients can be released from the polymer/elastomer when extracted with specific media — i.e. water, hexane, etc. — under specified testing conditions.

Continue reading FDA Standards Key to Proper Gasket Selection

S.T.A.M.P. Gasket Selection Criteria

GasketWe recently updated our Gasketing webpages to provide our customers with much more robust product information, to help you along your journey of finding the right gasket for your application.  Visit our Non-Asbestos, Metal, Elastomeric, or ePTFE Gasket Tape pages to learn more.


S.T.A.M.P.

When you’re specifying a gasket for even the simplest application, it is important that the gasket supplier know all the operating parameters.

There are five major pieces of information needed to select the appropriate gasket, known by the acronym S.T.A.M.P.:

Gasket - Raised Face FlangeSize:

While gaskets are most often used in standard ANSI flange connections, non-standard flanges can also be found throughout a plant.  In dealing with non-standard flanges, it is VERY important to obtain as much detail as possible about the contact dimensions (the portion of the gasket actually being compressed) and the fasteners or bolts being used (size, grade, quantity). This information is used to calculate the contact area and available assembly stress – a key factor in the selection process, as an improperly loaded gasket could result in premature equipment failure.

Continue reading S.T.A.M.P. Gasket Selection Criteria

Ultra Low Emissions with the FLEXSEAL® ULE

Garlock FLEXSEAL® ULE - Ultra Low EmissionsGarlock has expanded their Ultra Low Emissions family of products to include a spiral wound gasket. The FLEXSEAL® ULE is designed for use where leakage control is critical and the aggressive application requires a spiral wound design. It’s manufactured using high performance graphite, and offers maximum protection against oxidation. The standard design includes an inner ring and outer ring, as well as preformed metal wire to enhance compressibility and sealability. The FLEXSEAL® ULE spiral wound is another product born from Garlock’s customer driven innovation.

Values & Benefits

  • API 6FB
    • Average leak rate recorded of 1.4 ml/min
  • Low Emissions (CFET)
    • Provides average leakage rates of 10 PPM (parts per million)
  • Oxidation Resistance
    • Offers maximum protection against oxidation for greater reliability and longer service life
    • No aging or fatigue under dynamic load, even at elevated
      temperatures
  • Manufacturability
    • Available in standard lead-time

Garlock FLEXSEAL® ULE - Ultra Low Emissions

Continue reading Ultra Low Emissions with the FLEXSEAL® ULE

GYLON EPIX™ Distributes Load Evenly

GYLON EPIX™ is a newly developed family of PTFE gaskets. It is manufactured using a patented, profiled surface based on our proven Fawn, Off-White, and Blue GYLON® to create highly conformable materials for optimum sealing performance.

THE EPIX™ DIFFERENCE

GYLON EPIX™ and a traditional full face gasket were installed in a 3”-150# flat face flange at 120 ft.lbs. with pressure sensitive film.  The film revealed that the traditional material saw heavier loading-near and around the bolts, and lighter loading at the points furthest from the bolts. The GYLON EPIX™ was able to distribute the load more evenly and prevent the low loading phenomenon.

GYLON EPIX™ with Pressure Sensitive Film

The pressure sensitive film was then analyzed with special software that translate the various shades of red into a full color spectrum that provides a better visualization of the stresses that were developed on each of the gaskets. Again, while the traditional gasket saw areas of lower stress (green and blue areas), the hexagonal pattern in the GYLON EPIX™ concentrated and distributed the stress more evenly across the entire gasket.

Continue reading GYLON EPIX™ Distributes Load Evenly

Case Study: Copper Mining Leakage Issues

GYLON EPIX™ 3504 EPXGYLON EPIX™ is a family of gaskets that effectively seals a broader range of applications and is more forgiving during the installation process.  It allows the end user to save valuable turn-around time, reduce re-work, and lower costs, helping them to finish ahead of schedule and under budget.

GYLON EPIX™ features a hexagonal surface profile that provides the torque retention and blowout resistance of a thin gasket and the conformability of a thicker gasket.  GYLON EPIX™ Style 3504 EPX is a high performance, aluminosilicate microsphere filled PTFE sheet material designed for use in moderate concentrations of acids, and caustics, as well as hydrocarbons, refrigerants, and more.


INDUSTRY

Mining

CUSTOMER

Copper Mine

BACKGROUND

Customer reported problems with continuous leaks that required ongoing maintenance and attention taking manpower and resources away from other critical operations for the plant.

Continue reading Case Study: Copper Mining Leakage Issues

GYLON EPIX™ Reduces Gasket Installation Issues

GYLON EPIX™ is a newly developed family of PTFE gaskets. It is manufactured using a patented, profiled surface based on our proven Fawn, Off-White, and Blue GYLON® to create highly conformable materials for optimum sealing performance.

Watch the video below to learn more about GYLON EPIX™, and how it’s patented
hexagonal surface profile can help you reduce gasket installation issues.

GYLON EPIX™ will provide superior functional performance by combining the traditional attributes of GYLON® with an innovative surface design. It offers a broader range of applications than traditional PTFE gaskets that are used in worn and pitted flanges. In addition, this evolutionary material delivers the tight sealing and load retention properties of 1/16” (1.6mm) and the conformability of 1/8” (3.2mm). The hexagonal profile provides GYLON EPIX™ - 3504 EPXimproved compressibility and recovery. The profiled surface reduces the contact area during initial compression to concentrate the compressive force of the flange for improved sealability.

Designed for increased compressibility, GYLON EPIX™ improves performance in misaligned flanges. The consolidation of two thicknesses to one reduces the need to inventory multiple thicknesses. Garlock is dedicated to providing real sealing solutions that meet real world sealing needs. With an improved design, color-coded materials, and single thickness, GYLON EPIX™ makes sealing easier.

For additional information about specific GYLON EPIX™ products:

GYLON EPIX™ Style 3500 EPX

GYLON EPIX™ Style 3504 EPX

GYLON EPIX™ Style 3510 EPX

The Importance of Flange Gasket Storage

Flange gasket storage is often an after-thought for many of our customers.  While incorrect gasket installation procedures is the #1 culprit when it comes to gasket failure, gasket storage can play a large role in the quality of the gasket being installed.

The following article first appeared in Pumps & Systems Magazine on December 14, 2017.


Get the Most Out of Your Flange Gaskets

Performance Depends on Many Factors

by Laverne Fernandes

Flange gaskets are highly engineered products, and their performance depends on many factors. Certainly design, manufacture, installation, and process conditions are all critical, but so is storage before use. Gasket materials often remain in storage for a long time before they are placed into service. Unfortunately, storage practices for gasket materials are generally not optimal or controlled well enough. This article provides guidance for the storage of different gasket materials to preserve their integrity.

Non-metallic Gasket Material - Gasket StorageGasket materials are divided into three main categories: non-metallic, semi-metallic and metallic. Non-metallic gaskets, or soft gaskets, are fabricated from materials such as rubber, fiber, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and graphite. The material properties make them ideal for flat-faced applications with low pressures. Metallic gaskets are fabricated from one or a combination of metals. Semi-metallic gaskets are composed of metal and non-metallic materials. The metal is intended to offer strength and resilience while the non-metallic components provide conformability and sealabililty. These types of gasket are used in higher-pressure applications. The most common semi-metallic gaskets are spiral wound gaskets.

Continue reading The Importance of Flange Gasket Storage