A gasket is a mechanical seal
Seal (mechanical)
A mechanical seal is a device which helps join systems or mechanisms together by preventing leakage , containing pressure, or excluding contamination...

 which fills the space between two or more mating surfaces, generally to prevent leakage from or into the joined objects while under compression. Gaskets allow "less-than-perfect" mating surfaces on machine parts where they can fill irregularities. Gaskets are commonly produced by cutting from sheet materials, such as gasket paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

, rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

, silicone
Silicones are inert, synthetic compounds with a variety of forms and uses. Typically heat-resistant and rubber-like, they are used in sealants, adhesives, lubricants, medical applications , cookware, and insulation....

, metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

, cork
Cork (material)
Cork is an impermeable, buoyant material, a prime-subset of bark tissue that is harvested for commercial use primarily from Quercus suber , which is endemic to southwest Europe and northwest Africa...

, felt
Felt is a non-woven cloth that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing woollen fibres. While some types of felt are very soft, some are tough enough to form construction materials. Felt can be of any colour, and made into any shape or size....

, neoprene
Neoprene or polychloroprene is a family of synthetic rubbers that are produced by polymerization of chloroprene. Neoprene in general has good chemical stability, and maintains flexibility over a wide temperature range...

, nitrile rubber
Nitrile rubber
Nitrile rubber, also known as Buna-N, Perbunan, or NBR, is a synthetic rubber copolymer of acrylonitrile and butadiene. Trade names include Nipol, Krynac and Europrene....

, fiberglass
Glass fiber is a material consisting of numerous extremely fine fibers of glass.Glassmakers throughout history have experimented with glass fibers, but mass manufacture of glass fiber was only made possible with the invention of finer machine tooling...

, Polytetrafluoroethylene
Polytetrafluoroethylene is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene that finds numerous applications. PTFE is most well known by the DuPont brand name Teflon....

 (otherwise known as PTFE or Teflon) or a plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

A polymer is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. These subunits are typically connected by covalent chemical bonds...

 (such as polychlorotrifluoroethylene
Polychlorotrifluoroethylene is a fluoropolymer with the molecular formula n. It is chemically related to PTFE....


Gaskets for specific applications, such as high pressure steam systems, may contain asbestos
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. They all have in common their eponymous, asbestiform habit: long, thin fibrous crystals...

. However, due to health hazards associated with asbestos exposure, non-asbestos gasket materials are used when practical.

It is usually desirable that the gasket be made from a material that is to some degree yielding such that it is able to deform and tightly fills the space it is designed for, including any slight irregularities. A few gaskets require an application of sealant directly to the gasket surface to function properly.

Some (piping) gaskets are made entirely of metal and rely on a seating surface to accomplish the seal; the metal's own spring characteristics are utilized (up to but not passing σy, the material's yield strength). This is typical of some "ring joints" (RJ) or some other metal gasket systems such as those made by Graylock (an Oceaneering International
Oceaneering International
Oceaneering International Inc. is an applied technology company based in Houston, Texas, U.S.A. that provides engineered services and hardware to customers who operate in marine, space, and other environments...

 company). These joints are known as R-con and E-con compressive type joints.


One of the more desirable properties of an effective gasket in industrial applications for compressed fiber gasket material is the ability to withstand high compressive loads. Most industrial gasket applications involve bolts exerting compression well into the 14 MPa
-Academic degrees:* Master of Professional Accountancy* Master of Public Administration* Master of Public Affairs* Master of Physician's Assistant-Chemicals:* Medroxyprogesterone acetate, also known by the brand name Depo-Provera* Morpholide of pelargonic acid...

 (2000 psi) range or higher. Generally speaking, there are several truism
A truism is a claim that is so obvious or self-evident as to be hardly worth mentioning, except as a reminder or as a rhetorical or literary device and is the opposite of falsism....

s that allow for best gasket performance. One of the more tried and tested is: "The more compressive load exerted on the gasket, the longer it will last".

There are several ways to measure a gasket material's ability to withstand compressive loading. The "hot compression test" is probably the most accepted of these tests. Most manufacturers of gasket materials will provide or publish the results of these tests.
lens gaskets for high pressure

Gasket design

Gaskets come in many different designs based on industrial usage, budget, chemical contact and physical parameters:

Sheet gaskets

The premise is simple in that a sheet of material has the gasket shape "punched out" of it. This leads to a very crude, fast and cheap gasket. In older situations the material was compressed asbestos, but now in the most of the developed contries a fibrous material such as graphite is used. These gaskets can fill many chemical requirements based on the inertness of the material used and fit many budgetary restraints. Common practice prevents these gaskets from being used in many industrial processes based on temperature and pressure concerns.

(source: Indicative list of Hong Kong Convention, it shows out that asbestos containing gaskets are manufactured at last till mid of this year in China and have been sold worldwide)

Solid material gaskets

The idea behind solid material is to use metals which cannot be punched out of sheets but are still cheap to produce. These gaskets generally have a much higher level of quality control than sheet gaskets and generally can withstand much higher temperatures and pressures. The key downside is that a solid metal must be greatly compressed in order to become flush with the flange
A flange is an external or internal ridge, or rim , for strength, as the flange of an iron beam such as an I-beam or a T-beam; or for attachment to another object, as the flange on the end of a pipe, steam cylinder, etc., or on the lens mount of a camera; or for a flange of a rail car or tram wheel...

 head and prevent leakage. The material choice is more difficult; because metals are primarily used, process contamination and oxidation are risks. An additional downside is that the metal used must be softer than the flange — in order to ensure that the flange does not warp and thereby prevent sealing with future gaskets. Even so, these gaskets have found a niche in industry.

Spiral-wound gaskets

Spiral-wound gaskets comprise a mix of metallic and filler material. Generally, the gasket has a metal (normally carbon rich or stainless steel
Stainless steel
In metallurgy, stainless steel, also known as inox steel or inox from French "inoxydable", is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5 or 11% chromium content by mass....

) wound outwards in a circular spiral (other shapes are possible) with the filler material (generally a flexible graphite) wound in the same manner but starting from the opposing side. This results in alternating layers of filler and metal. The filler material in these gaskets acts as the sealing element, with the metal providing structural support.

These gaskets have proven to be reliable in most applications, and allow lower clamping forces than solid gaskets, albeit with a higher cost.

Constant seating stress gaskets

The constant seating stress gasket consists of two components; a solid carrier ring of a suitable material, such as stainless steel, and two sealing elements of some compressible material installed within two opposing channels, one channel on either side of the carrier ring. The sealing elements are typically made from a material (expanded graphite, expanded polytetraflouroethylene (PTFE), vermiculite, etc.) suitable to the process fluid and application. Constant seating stress gaskets derive their name from the fact that the carrier ring profile takes flange rotation (deflection under bolt preload) into consideration. With all other conventional gaskets, as the flange fasteners are tightened, the flange deflects radially under load, resulting in the greatest gasket compression, and highest gasket stress, at the outer gasket edge.

Since the carrier ring used in constant seating stress gaskets take this deflection into account when creating the carrier ring for a given flange size, pressure class, and material, the carrier ring profile can be adjusted to enable the gasket seating stress to be radially uniform across the entire sealing area. Further, because the sealing elements are fully confined by the flange faces in opposing channels on the carrier ring, any in-service compressive forces acting on the gasket are transmitted through the carrier ring and avoid any further compression of the sealing elements, thus maintaining a 'constant' gasket seating stress while in-service. Thus, the gasket is immune to common gasket failure modes that include creep relaxation, high system vibration, or system thermal cycles. The fundamental concept underlying the improved sealability for constant seating stress gaskets are that (i) if the flange sealing surfaces are capable of attaining a seal, (ii) the sealing elements are compatible with the process fluid and application, and (iii) the sufficient gasket seating stress is achieved on installation necessary to affect a seal, then the possibility of the gasket leaking in-service is greatly reduced or eliminated altogether.

The Patent for the constant seating stress gasket is held by JJENCO, Inc., Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. Various constant seating stress gasket designs for different applications are sold by that company under the tradename 'PerfectSeal'.

Double-jacketed gaskets

Double-jacketed gaskets are another combination of filler material and metallic materials. In this application, a tube with ends that resemble a "C" is made of the metal with an additional piece made to fit inside of the "C" making the tube thickest at the meeting points. The filler is pumped between the shell and piece. When in use the compressed gasket has a larger amount of metal at the two tips where contact is made (due to the shell/piece interaction) and these two places bear the burden of sealing the process. Since all that is needed is a shell and piece, these gaskets can be made from almost any material that can be made into a sheet and a filler can then be inserted. This is an effective option for most applications.

Kammprofile gaskets

Kammprofile gaskets are used in many older seals since they have both a flexible nature and reliable performance. Kammprofiles work by having a solid corrugated core with a flexible covering layer. This arrangement allows for very high compression and an extremely tight seal along the ridges of the gasket. Since generally the graphite will fail instead of the metal core, Kammprofile can be repaired during later inactivity. Kammprofile has a high capital cost for most applications but this is countered by long life and increased reliability.

Flange gasket

A flange gasket is a type of gasket
thumb|sright|250px|Some seals and gaskets1. [[o-ring]]2. fiber [[Washer |washer]]3. paper gaskets4. [[cylinder head]] [[head gasket|gasket]]...

 made to fit between two sections of pipe
Pipe (material)
A pipe is a tubular section or hollow cylinder, usually but not necessarily of circular cross-section, used mainly to convey substances which can flow — liquids and gases , slurries, powders, masses of small solids...

 that are flared to provide higher surface area.

Flange gaskets come in a variety of sizes and are categorized by their inside diameter and their outside diameter.

There are many standards in gasket for flanges of pipes. The gaskets for flanges can be divided in major 4 different categories:
  1. Sheet gaskets
  2. Corrugated metal gaskets
  3. Ring gaskets
  4. spiral wound gaskets

Sheet gaskets are simple, they are cut to size either with bolt
A screw, or bolt, is a type of fastener characterized by a helical ridge, known as an external thread or just thread, wrapped around a cylinder. Some screw threads are designed to mate with a complementary thread, known as an internal thread, often in the form of a nut or an object that has the...

 holes or without holes for standard sizes with various thickness and material suitable to media and temperature pressure of pipeline.

Ring gaskets also known as RTJ. They are mostly used in offshore oil- and gas pipelines
Pipeline transport
Pipeline transport is the transportation of goods through a pipe. Most commonly, liquids and gases are sent, but pneumatic tubes that transport solid capsules using compressed air are also used....

 and are designed to work under extremely high pressure. They are solid rings of metal in different cross sections like oval, round, octagonal etc. Sometimes they come with hole in center for pressure equalization.

Spiral wound gaskets are also used in high pressure pipelines and are made with stainless steel
Stainless steel
In metallurgy, stainless steel, also known as inox steel or inox from French "inoxydable", is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5 or 11% chromium content by mass....

 outer and inner rings and a center filled with spirally wound stainless steel tape wound together with graphite
The mineral graphite is one of the allotropes of carbon. It was named by Abraham Gottlob Werner in 1789 from the Ancient Greek γράφω , "to draw/write", for its use in pencils, where it is commonly called lead . Unlike diamond , graphite is an electrical conductor, a semimetal...

 and Teflon, formed in V shape. Internal pressure acts upon the faces of the V, forcing the gasket to seal against the flange faces.


Many gaskets contain minor improvements to increase lifespan or acceptable operating conditions:
  • A common improvement is an inner compression ring. A compression ring allows for higher flange compression while preventing gasket failure. The effects of a compression ring are minimal and generally are just used when the standard design experiences a high rate of failure.
  • A common improvement is an outer guiding ring. A guiding ring allows for easier installation and serves as a minor compression inhibitor. In some alkylation uses these can be modified on Double Jacketed gaskets to show when the first seal has failed through an inner lining system coupled with alkylation paint.

See also

  • Ozone cracking
    Ozone cracking
    Cracks can be formed in many different elastomers by ozone attack, and the characteristic form of attack of vulnerable rubbers is known as ozone cracking...

  • Polymer degradation
    Polymer degradation
    Polymer degradation is a change in the properties—tensile strength, colour, shape, etc.—of a polymer or polymer-based product under the influence of one or more environmental factors such as heat, light or chemicals such as acids, alkalis and some salts...

  • Vacuum flange
    Vacuum flange
    A vacuum flange is a flange at the end of a tube used to connect vacuum chambers, tubing and vacuum pumps to each other.-Vacuum flange types:...

  • Washer (mechanical)
    Washer (mechanical)
    A washer is a thin plate with a hole that is normally used to distribute the load of a threaded fastener, such as a screw or nut. Other uses are as a spacer, spring , wear pad, preload indicating device, locking device, and to reduce vibration...


  1. Bickford, John H.: An Introduction to the Design and Behavior of Bolted Joints, 3rd ed., Marcel Dekker, 1995, pg. 5
  2. Latte, Dr. Jorge and Rossi, Claudio: High Temperature Behavior of Compressed Fiber Gasket Materials, and an Alternative Approach to the Prediction of Gasket Life, FSA presented Paper, 1995, pg. 16

External links

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