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.
Tip #3: Avoid exposure to oxygen and ozone
The presence of oxygen (O2) and ozone (O3) can seriously degrade and break down many rubber compounds. While oxygen and ozone are always present in the atmosphere, the concentration of ozone in particular can be intensified by the nearby presence of high voltage electrical equipment, electric motors, and mercury vapour lamps. Rubber gaskets should always be stored in locations where the presence of ozone is controlled or limited.
Tip #4: Maintain temperature levels
High temperatures can accelerate the deterioration of rubber gaskets, while temperatures below the freezing point can cause rubber to stiffen, making installation of a cold gasket problematic. For these reasons, temperatures in storage locations should not exceed 25°C (80°F) or be allowed to drop below freezing. Should a gasket stored in a cold location be placed into service, the gasket should always be allowed to come up to room temperature before being installed.
Tip #5: Avoid storage that could lead to compression and deformation
Stacking gaskets or placing heavy items on top of them can compress or elongate the material, leading to possible deformation of the gaskets. Gaskets should be separated by type, size and grade, and stored in clearly market containers that offer sufficient protection from the deterioration factors described above.
Because gaskets are often considered a commodity-type item, following good practices to ensure gasket storage and shelf life is often overlooked. Following the above tips for gasket storage and shelf life can ensure that your stored gaskets are always ready for service.
The original article was featured on Canada Rubber Group’s website and can be found here.
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