Gaskets are vital elements to any piping system and application that requires creating the perfect seal in order to prevent leaks. This is the main role of a gasket, to provide a good seal, with some gasket materials sealing better than others in certain applications.
Not only do they help to keep the safety of piping systems intact, but they also help to maintain environmental conditions and ensure that nothing affects operations and, most importantly, final product quality.
However, not all gaskets will be suitable for all applications, and just because a particular type of gasket has been used before does not mean that it is the right gasket to use again.
The most common type of gaskets involves o rings, ring joints, spiral wound gaskets, and those with solid metal designs.
When operations change
As your operations and processes adapt and change, you must review your gaskets’ suitability, ensuring that the gaskets you are currently using remain fit for purpose.
For example, suppose your process changes to a system that now requires much higher operating temperatures. In that case, previous gaskets may not be able to withstand the extreme change, and the effect that this can have on the gasket is that it may not be able to provide a tight seal. Instead, water, gas, solvents and more can escape and leak out from the flanges.
In these instances, new gaskets should be chosen carefully, considering the flange details, the process fluid, and finally, the operating conditions.
Why opt for spiral wound gaskets?
Metal gaskets that are wound to create a strong seal, spiral wound gaskets make an excellent choice for applications and processes that require high operating temperatures and harsh chemicals.
Metal spiral wound gaskets are some of the most commonly used gaskets due to their strength, excellent sealing properties, and price points.
This gasket type also has a centre ring, and under load, the spiral compresses, sealing the process completely.
However, maintenance and regular checks must be carried out on all gaskets in used to check they maintain their functionality and core purpose – to provide the perfect seal.
Ideally, spiral wound gaskets should be treated as single-use gaskets and replaced once wear and tear or leaks start to occur. It is not advised to reuse spiral wound gaskets.
If, however, you opt for solid metal gaskets, for all these are slightly more expensive, you can reuse them. Consisting of a grooved metal plate, these gaskets require a process compatible sealer, which is used to fill the groove. You can reuse these particular types of gaskets in applications if you carry out sealer reapplication and appropriate maintenance.
Gaskets are a vital part of processing and applications, and it’s important that you check, maintain, and replace them where necessary to keep final products from being negatively affected.
To reuse or replace, that is the question.
Reusing a gasket
Gaskets may be suitable for reusing if:
- The gasket hasn’t been exposed to extreme heat.
- The gasket hasn’t been exposed or suffered from swelling or fluid exposure.
- The thickness of the gasket is still intact, so compressibility is high, enabling the achievement of a strong seal.
Reasons why you shouldn’t reuse a gasket
- The gasket has dried out, become brittle, stiffened, etc. Ultimately there is no return for this gasket.
- If the gasket has swelled due to extreme exposure to fluids. You should not reuse the gasket due to the gasket being overly saturated or impregnated in these instances.
- The final reason not to reuse a gasket comes down to compressibility. A gasket works best when it can go through initial compression achieving a great first seal.
In all cases, gaskets should be designed and installed correctly if you want them to perform at their best.
At SSP, we would always recommend replacing seals, keeping your applications on the safe side, and to continue to keep performance levels high.
Opting for higher quality seals designed to last is key, not just choosing those that are the cheapest. Don’t compromise safety and performance by choosing lower-grade gaskets.
As a trusted supplier, Specialist Sealing Products offers a range of gaskets suitable for various applications and processes.
Checking the quality of your gaskets
- Check the gasket material is labelled with style and brand
- Know the operating limits of the gasket (check temperature and pressure ratings)
- Assess gaskets flexibility based on the filler material
- Check manufacturing date codes for age and batch numbers
- Remember, cheaper doesn’t always mean better
- Clarify the right gasket for your application
- Spiral wound gaskets Leeds will be colour coded and stamped for identification purposes – make sure this is visible on your gaskets.
Helping you find the ideal gasket, offering the best sealing performance, call us on 01535 274 776 today.
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