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The Importance of Choosing The Right Sealant for Gasketing

February 29, 2016

If the relationship between pipes, engine manifolds, and all other eccentrically shaped surfaces was entirely static, gasket design would be a simple task. Unfortunately, as with the majority of issues found in engineering, these junction points dynamically generate irregular forces. Heat causes a pipe to expand and then contract. The gasket loses uniform contact and no longer sits fully against its accompanying flange. The result of contact failure is leakage, a loss of pressure, and a possible environmental hazard, perhaps even an explosive hazard if the flange and gasket configuration carry flammable fluid.

On having informed our audience of the responsibility accepted by gaskets, they’re not the perceived weak points in the fluid transportation chain if a suitable sealant for gasketing purposes is used to reinforce the juncture. The right sealant is designed to incrementally stretch and compress as pipes heat and cool. The sealing solution also accounts for creep and creep relaxation by incorporating specific crush strength factors. Next, the compressed sealant exhibits a precision imbued quantity of viscosity, so as to fill the fine grain of metal flanges and act as a sandwiching medium to mate the metal to the gasket. Additionally, the formulated compound is tailored to endure when distinct fluid mediums and specific temperature ranges are present in the pipeline. And, if that circular pipeline should assume a more complex geometrical profile, the material uses its initial viscous form to conform to every contour but still hardens after mechanical fasteners compress the gasket into its final form.

A sealant for gasketing uses is a fast-drying, non-brittle, chemical compound that serves a clear-cut function. It must possess active mechanical components, additives that resist pressure, but still be able to uniformly expand and compress as if the pipeline is breathing. Similarly, and this point may seem to contradict what was just stated, the sealant must also contain a viscosity factor, which means the fluid is capable of filling the finest flaws in the metal flange and the gasket seal while closing around the mechanical fasteners to eliminate every potential indication of mechanical weakness. And, when placed in a dynamic environment, an engine or compressor assembly, the long-lasting compound again calls on tailored attributes, design characteristics that deal with transient pressure spikes, vibration, and the flash of one property state to the next.

Choosing the right sealant for gasketing work involves a close analysis of the root application and an even deeper assessment of combined mechanical/chemical flow states as set by the fastening mechanisms and the contents of the pipe.

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