So you spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year on sealing solutions, like gaskets. But did you know that the way you store your gaskets could affect the effectiveness or life span of your gaskets? In this blog, we offer some tips for gasket storage and shelf life which, if followed, can help ensure that your gaskets are always ready for service.
Gasket Storage and Shelf Life: General Storage Principles
Rubber gaskets should always be stored in a cool location which is free from excessive humidity, direct sunlight, and the presence of chemical vapours or fumes. The storage location should ideally be indoors and free from exposure to the elements or inclement weather. If the storage guidelines given below are followed, rubber gaskets or gasketed components have the following expected shelf life:
Tips for Gasket Storage and Shelf Life
Tip #1: Limit exposure to light
Sunlight and strong artificial light can degrade some gasket materials. For this reason, rubber gaskets should be stored in cartons or opaque bags which prevent direct exposure to light.
Tip #2: Maintain relative humidity levels
Very moist or excessively dry conditions in a storage location should be avoided. Relative humidity levels below 75% are recommended for most rubber gaskets. Similarly, very low humidity levels which can cause some materials to dry out and become brittle should also be avoided. Continue reading Tips for Gasket Storage and Maximizing Life→
The Garlock Family of Companies has launched a new fully-coated isolation gasket known as EVOLUTION.
EVOLUTION® Isolation Gaskets
The next generation of isolation gaskets, EVOLUTION®, features easier installation, tight sealing, high-temperature operation, no permeation, hydrotesting isolation, fire-safety and chemical-resistance.
Featuring a thinner, 1/8-inch design, EVOLUTION minimizes the difficulties encountered when attempting to install thicker isolating gaskets. The full-coating encapsulation allows the gasket to be hydrotested and left in the pipeline with the same isolation properties as before it was tested.
EVOLUTION’s coating is highly resistant to abrasion and impact while providing chemical resistance to hydrogen sulphide (H2S), steam, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and other chemicals often found in oil and gas pipelines. This fully encapsulated coating also prevents the need for expensive exotic cores, as it eliminates contact to exposed metal. Continue reading Garlock’s New Isolation Gasket: The Future of Flange Isolation→
In addition to KLINGER’s complete Sheet Gasketing Product Line which now includes the new major change in construction of their PTFE Products TC 1003, TC 1005, and TC1006, they have added a great new product to cover additional applications during day-to-day operation.
The KLINGER SAVER
A new product we are featuring on our blog is THE KLINGER-SAVER – a tool to eliminate hand injuries.
Bolt tightening or loosening activities, or using slug wrenches and hammers can often the cause of serious finger or hand injuries.
The KLINGER-SAVER is a safety device that allows an assembly technician to remove his hand from the potential danger of being struck by the hammer.
How The KLINGER-SAVER Works
The wrench is held securely in place on the nut with webbing attached to a strong rubber cord, which is tensioned and locked within a plastic distance tube.
What comes with the KLINGER-SAVER?
The KLINGER-SAVER is supplied as a complete kit, including an extension tube. The extension tube allows further separation from the strike zone, particularly when helpers are involved, or for hard to reach bolts.
Supplied in a highly visible bright yellow color.
The distance and extension pieces are molded from high impact resistant polypropylene.
The cord is molded nitrile rubber with a 60 Shore hardness.
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International Committee F03 on Gaskets recently released the latest standard practice to derive gasket design constants for the proper design of bolted flanged joints (BFJs): ASTM F2836-18. End users of gaskets can then use these gasket constants for proper BFJ design using calculation methods that are currently being developed by a special working group of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC) Section VIII at the time of this publication. In this article, the current test procedure, the mathematical models of the test evaluation and the calculation of the characteristics are described and discussed.
Most industry professionals are aware that BFJs used in fluid service are complex mechanical systems. In order to create a high-performing BFJ, a designer needs to carefully consider not only the service conditions the BFJ will encounter, but also the performance characteristics inherent to the components of the BFJ. The gasket itself is one of these critical, yet often overlooked, components, and efforts to determine and quantify the performance characteristics of gaskets have been ongoing for decades.
The newest of these efforts to be published in the United States is ASTM F2836-18: Standard Practice for Gasket Constants for Bolted Joint Design (commonly referred to as the Room Temperature Tightness Test, or ROTT). The design constants produced by this method enable a more robust design of BFJs compared to previous, antiquated design constants, such as the m and y factors.
The crucial gasket constants produced by this standard practice are a, Gb and Gs. These constants effectively describe the tightness behavior of the gasket material, reflective of different loading and service conditions.
In addition to their application to the ASME calculation method currently under development, the constants can also be used to compare materials so the proper one may be selected for the application.
Who Will Use ASTM F2836-18?
ASTM F2836-18 is a helium leakage testing and evaluation method that determines tightness-based design constants at room temperature for pressurized bolted flange connections that are designed in accordance with ASME BPVC. As such, ROTT applies mainly to all types of circular gasket products—including, but not limited to, sheet-type, spiral wound, solid metal and jacketed gaskets.
As such, these constants stand to be of interest to all parties who work with circular gaskets and have a vested interest in producing a high-performing BFJ, including end users, BFJ assembly contractors and gasket manufacturers.
The test method consists of analyzing data from multiple gasket leakage tests in order to calculate the three aforementioned design constants for a particular model and size of gasket. The testing can be performed in a pair of appropriately sized flanges, using bolts to achieve varying gasket loads, or in a servo-hydraulic test stand of adequate capacity (Image 1).
In total, the procedure consists of two high-pressure (HP) tests at 6 megapascal (MPa) (870 pounds per square inch [psi]) of helium and two low-pressure (LP) tests at 2 MPa (290 psi) of helium, for a total of four tests on four different specimens. In addition to the differences in internal pressure, the HP and LP tests are also distinct from each other in terms of the gasket loading sequences.
The HP test consists of loading and unloading sequences, continually introducing successively higher loads onto the gasket while interrupting this loading sequence with intermittent unloading ramps. The LP test consists of only a loading sequence.
In both tests, the helium leak rate is measured at these various gasket loads.
For the purposes of test evaluation and gasket constant derivation, the different loading sequences of the tests are categorized as either Part A or Part B. Part A consists of the loading sequences, while Part B consists of the unloading sequences. Therefore, the HP test contains both Part A and Part B sequences, while the LP test consists of Part A only.
See Image 2 and Image 3 for details of the HP and LP testing sequences, respectively.
With its increasing gasket loads, Part A simulates assembly of the gasket in the joint, and therefore represents the gasket seating process. The data from this portion of the test is used to determine the required seating load for the gasket to create a tight seal.
Part B simulates the operating conditions by unloading the specimen to different gasket stress levels. This replicates unloading of the gasket, seen in real applications, due to various factors including internal pressure and relaxation effects of a gasket during operation. Part B test data is used to determine the required operating gasket load in order to maintain a tight seal. Continue reading ASTM International Committee Releases Latest Room Temperature Tightness Test→
Rare and Ultra-Pure Resources Present Unique Challenge to Finding Appropriate Low Temp Gasket
Modern technology often requires rare or ultra-pure materials that can only be handled or obtained within extreme environmental conditions. These same conditions present unique and hazardous difficulties when transporting or utilizing these resources. Resources such as liquid oxygen, nitrogen, or argon; all of which are classified as “industrial gases” are handled well below the normal temperature ranges that every-day liquids exist; ranging as low as -195.8°C (-320.4°F). This often makes it a challenging task to find a low temp gasket to fit the specifications for the application.
As an example, let’s look at argon; an important gas used in Welding, Neon Lights, 3D Printing, and Metal Production, just to name a few. It is far more economical to house and transport argon in its liquid state. However, it must be held at an astonishingly low -185.9°C. Fitting the pipes together and maintaining a seal in a cryogenically engineered system that the liquid argon is housed presents unique difficulties. Argon gas is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and can irritate the skin and the eyes on contact. In its liquid form it can cause frostbite.
There are important considerations that should be taken into account when installing gaskets for dangerous extreme low temp materials.
Proper Gasket Installation
Many gasket materials can become brittle, crack, shrink, and blow out when exposed to extreme cold – not something you want to happen at any time, let alone with a liquid that can freeze you into a meatsickle. So, proper installation is also key. During installation, it is important that all parts are dry, the installation is done at ambient temperature, and then re-adjusted with changes in temperature.
Any mechanical seal that is sealing a product with a temperature below 0 degrees Celsius is given the name “Cryogenic”. Liquefied gases (LNG), such as liquid nitrogen and liquid helium, are used in many cryogenic applications, as well as hydrocarbons with low freezing points, refrigerants and coolants.
When selecting a low temp gasket or sealing material to be used in cryogenic service, it is important that the material can withstand cryogenic temperatures.
Low temperature applications are found across many industries, these include:
Garlock GYLON® and KLINGER SLS/HL
Good gasketing materials that can withstand the frigid cold and are pliable in the requirement to maintain the seal would be the Garlock GYLON family of gaskets (PTFE, capable of -450°F (-268°C)) or the Klinger SLS/HL, which is made of flexible graphite and can withstand -400°F (-240°C)
As with all gasket applications, environmental conditions should be considered in conjunction with the functional requirements of the device. Though there are limited options to solve extreme low temp gasketing challenges, Gylon and Klinger can be a good fit for your application.
Portions of the original article were written by Michael Pawlowski and Sylvia Flegg of Triangle Fluid Controls Ltd. The article can be found on Empowering Pumps website here.
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.
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.
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.
To create an effective seal, there are two functions the gasket must accomplish.
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.
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!
If 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.
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 the 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
Pipes or related products
Non-metallic potable water materials
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:
Food grade compliant
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 different 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:
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.
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.
We 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.
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.:
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.