Why Gaskets Are Used

Gasket are used to create a static seal between two stationary members of a mechanical assembly and to maintain that seal under operating conditions which may vary dependent upon changes in pressures and temperatures. If it were possible to have perfectly mated flanges and if it were possible to maintain an intimate contact of these perfectly mated flanges throughout the extremes of operating conditions; a gasket would not be required. This is virtually an impossibility either because of: • • • The si e of the vessel and!or flanges The difficulty in maintaining such extremely smooth flange finishes during handling and assembly "orrosion and erosion of the flange surfaces during operations

#s a consequence$ relatively inexpensive gaskets are used to provide the sealing element in these mechanical assemblies. In most cases$ the gasket provides a seal by external forces flowing the gasket material into the imperfections between the mating surfaces. It follows then that in a properly designed gasket closure$ three ma%or considerations must be taken into account in order for a satisfactory seal to be achieved: &. 'ufficient force must be available to initially seat the gasket. 'tating this another way$ adequate means must be provided to flow the gasket into imperfections in the gasket seating surfaces. (. 'ufficient forces must be available to maintain a residual stress on the gasket under operating conditions to ensure that the gasket will be in intimate contact with the gasket seating surfaces to prevent blow)by or leakage.

3. The selection of the gasket material must be such that it will withstand the pressures exerted against the
gasket$ satisfactorily resist the entire temperature range to which the closure will be exposed and withstand corrosive attack of the confined medium.

Effecting a Seal
# seal is affected by compressing the gasket material and causing it to flow into the imperfections on the gasket seating surfaces so that intimate contact is made between the gasket and the gasket seating surfaces preventing the escape of the confined fluid. *asically there are four different methods that may be used either singly or in combination to achieve this unbroken barrier. &. "ompression +,igure & -. This is by far the most common method of effecting a seal on a flange %oint and the compression force is normally applied by bolting. (. #ttrition +,igure (-. #ttrition is a combination of a dragging action combined with compression such as in a spark plug gasket where the spark plug is turned down on a gasket that is both compressed and screwed into the flange. .. *y heat$ such as in the case of sealing a bell and spigot %oint on cast iron pipe by means of molten lead. /ote$ however$ that after the molten lead is poured$ it is tampered into place using a tamping tool and a hammer. 0. Gasket lip expansion. This is a phenomenon that would occur due to edge swelling when the gasket would be affected by confined fluid$ as in the case of elastomeric compounds affected by the confined fluids$ such as solvents$ causing the gasket material to swell and increase the interaction of the gasket against the flange faces.

Generally$ gaskets are called upon to effect a seal across the faces of contact with the flanges. 1ermeation of the media through the body of the gasket is also a possibility depending on material$ confined media$ and acceptable leakage rate.

There are three principal forces acting on any gasketed %oint.ound gaskets$ which have become extremely popular in the last fifteen to twenty years$ do require some surface roughness to prevent excessive radial slippage of the gasket under compression.ound fall between these two general types. . The first is the gasket material itself. microinches. includes recommendations for normal finishes for the various types of gaskets. .3 gaskets on the order of magnitude of :99 microinches. There are other shock forces that may be created due to sudden changes in temperature and pressure. #s a general rule$ it is necessary to have a relatively rough gasket seating surface for elastomeric and 1T. 3ach of these factors require consideration before an effective gasket material is finally chosen. The #'23 4nfired 1ressure 5essel "ode 'ection 5III$ 6ivision & defines minimum design seating stresses for variety of gasket materials. The second ma%or factor to take into consideration must be the surface finish of the gasket seating surface. Table . 'emi)metallic gaskets such as 'piral . 'ee . "reep relaxation is another factor that may come into the picture. These details require careful attention$ but if complied with will help eliminate gasket blow)out or failure. The characteristics of the type of gasket being used dictate the proper flange surface finish that must be taken into consideration by the flange designer and there is no such thing as a single optimum gasket surface finish for all types of gaskets. This requires that the gasket seating surfaces be as smooth as possible to ensure an effective seal.$ the effective pressure resulting from the bolt loading. *etween these two extremes there are a multitude of materials available to the designer enabling him to make a selection based upon the specific operating conditions under investigation.or example a totally enclosed facing such as tongue and groove will permit the use of a much smoother gasket seating surface than can be tolerated with a raised face.igure & The Flange Load: The total force compressing the gasket to create a seal$ i. Forces Acting on a Gasketed Joint The Internal Pressure: These are the forces continually trying to unseal a gasketed %oint by exerting pressure against the gasket +blowout pressureand against the flanges holding the gasket in place +hydrostatic end force-. These design seating stresses range from ero psi for so)called self)sealing gasket types such as low durometer elastomers and 7) rings to (8$999 psi to properly seat solid flat metal gaskets.e. Table & indicated the more popular types of gaskets covered by #'23 4nfired 1ressure 5essel "ode. The hydrostatic end force$ that tends to separate flanges when the system is pressuri ed. They are: *olt load and!or other means of applying the initial compressive load that flows the gasket material into surface imperfections to form a seal.Gasket Seating There are two ma%or factors to be considered with regard to gasket seating. In the case of solid metal gaskets$ extremely high unit loads are required to flow the gasket into imperfections on the gasket seating surfaces. <owever$ the proper gasket may often be re%ected because failure occurred due to a poorly cleaned flange face$ or improper bolting)up practice. 'piral . The reason for the difference is that with non)metallic gaskets such as rubber$ there must be sufficient roughness on the gasket seating surfaces to bite into the gasket thereby preventing excessive extrusion and increasing resistance to gasket blowout. Internal pressure acting on the portion of the gasket exposed to internal pressure$ tending to blow the gasket out of the %oint and!or to bypass the gasket under operating conditions. 'olid metal gaskets normally require a surface finish not rougher than 8. The problem of the proper finish for gasket seating surface is further complicated by the type of the flange design.

A!% ? total cross)sectional area of bolts at root of thread or section of least diameter under stress$ required for the operating conditions. #'23 defines this bolt load as: #fter . Ta#le & #o ? basic gasket seating width$ inches.m( are calculated$ then the minimum required bolt area #m is determined: *olts are then selected so that the actual bolt area #b is equal to or greater than #m #b ? +/umber of *olts..> +2inimum "ross)'ectional #rea of *olt in 'quare Inches. Ta#le &' G ? diameter at location of gasket load reaction.igure & indicated the three primary forces acting upon a gasketed %oint which we will consider for this discussion.on the gasket bearing surface is equal to the total maximum bolt load in pounds divided by the actual sealing area of the gasket in square inches. "otation Sy!#ols and $efinitions 63.rom a practical standpoint$ residual gasket load must be =>= time internal pressure if a tight %oint is to be maintained. It must be sufficient to maintain a residual load on the gasket!flange interface. #ctually the =m= value is the ratio of residual unit stress +bolt load minus hydrostatic end force. olt Load For!ulas The #'23 4nfired 1ressure 5essel "ode$ 'ection 5III$ 6ivision & defines the initial bolt load required to seat a gasket sufficiently as: The required operating bolt load must be at least sufficient$ under the most severe operating conditions$ to contain the hydrostatic end force and$ in addition$ to maintain a residual compression load on the gasket that is sufficient to assure a tight %oint. # ? effective gasket or %oint)contact)surface seating width$ inches.on gasket +psi.The maximum unit load 'g+max. The larger the number used for =m$= the more conservative the flange design would be$ and the more assurance the designer has of obtaining a tight %oint. A# ? actual total cross)sectional area of bolts at root of thread or section of least diameter under stress$ square inches.I/ITI7/' 3xcept as noted$ the symbols and definitions below are those given in #ppendix II of the &@AA #'23 *oiler and 1ressure 5essel "ode$ 'ection 5III. A! ? total required cross)sectional area of bolts$ taken as the greater of #m& or #m($ square inches.m& and . A!& ? total cross)sectional area of bolts at root of thread or section of least diameter under stress$ required for gasket seating. The initial compression force applied to a gasket seating surfaces regardless of operating condition. This unknown quantity =>= is what is known as the =$= factor in the #'23 unfired pressure vessel code and will vary depending upon the type of gasket being used. . Initial compression force must be great enough to compensate for the total hydrostatic end force that would be present during operating conditions.to internal pressure of the system. .

has developed a program to better identify loads based on gasket =sealability=.$%T# $ 19& . #llowable 'tress E :99D. Sa ? allowable bolt stress at ambient temperature$ pounds per square inch.steam Flange details Bolting . The flange material . however$ to prevent leakage under hydrotest it is decided to tighten bolting to . Sa!)le Gasket A))lication Pro#le! .1-1/ t!ds" Bolt #aterial .. "onditions: • • • • • • • Design pressure .$%T# $&12 T(pe &16%"%" #llowable bolt stress E #mbient Temperature$ according to 'tress Table &$ 1age 0: is only (9$999 1'I. +Camons is a sponsor of 15B" research-. The conditions appear to be suitable for a spiral wound gasket. The flange material . y ? gasket or %oint)contact)surface unit seating load$ minimum design seating stress$ 1'I Table & pounds per square inch. Therefore$ the logical choice for the metal in the gasket is .&8'. (The 1ressure 5essel research "ouncil +15B". S# ? allowable bolt stress at operating temperature$ pounds per square inch. Sg ? #ctual unit load at the gasket bearing surface$ pounds per square inch. The conditions appear to be suitable for a spiral wound gasket. Ta#le % " ? width$ in inches$ used to determine the basic gasket seating width b9$ based upon the possible contact width of the gasket.500°F Process material .&8'.900 psi Design temperature . .24 .&8 '.. W!& ? minimum required bolt load for gasket seating$ pounds.Ta#le &' ! ? gasket factor. .$ is compatible with the steam environment E:99D. 3xample "onditions: # designer wants a gasket recommendation for a special application sealing at 899 psi and :99D. Therefore$ the logical choice for the metal in the gasket is . ) (9$999 1'I #nalysis The pressure)temperature conditions indicate a metallic gasket should be used.'.$ is compatible with the steam environment E:99D.m& ? required bolt load for gasket seating$ pounds. Ta#le&' P ? design pressure$ pounds per square inch.&8 '. Analysis The pressure)temperature conditions indicate a metallic gasket should be used. Thus$ new design factors are anticipated to appear in upcoming revisions of the #'23 *oiler and 1ressure 5essel "ode.9$999 1'I.B' Flange #aterial .' 'ince GrafoilF is also compatible with the environment$ it is selected as the filler material.600 psi Test Pressure .' 'ince GrafoilF is also compatible with the environment$ it is selected as the filler material..or assistance with a particular gasket problem contact Camons sales 6epartment$ or a technical representative.'.