Gaskets are the number one sealing solution across all industries, and you will find numerous options available when it comes to type, size, shape, and suitability.
Within the oil and gas industry, in particular, leaks must be avoided at all costs, as these can lead to disastrous consequences, so maximising the benefits and capabilities of these pieces of hardware is essential.
There is a growing preference in the oil and gas industry to opt for spiral wound gaskets, in the UK, as the benefits that these specific gaskets offer can provide safer and more secure operations.
However, there are other gasket types available, too, which we’ll look at in more depth throughout this post.
What is a gasket?
Gaskets are mechanical products that sit between two mating surfaces to fill the gap and create a strong seal.
This sealing solution helps to prevent leaks, cover irregularities, and increase a material’s overall sealing ability.
Gaskets are not only good, but they are vital for high-pressure applications and those applications that see fluctuations in temperature ranges.
Types of Gaskets Found in the Oil and Gas Industry
Ring joint gaskets
Gasket types in oil and gas applications can require precision, and this is where ring gaskets come in. Machined precisely to withstand high-temp and high-pressure applications, these gaskets are manufactured from soft stainless steel and come in an oval or octagonal shape, making them incredibly flexible.
However, the disadvantage to this type of gasket is that you must replace the gasket once it has been used as deformations can form in their flanges, reducing the level of seal the gasket can then provide.
Made from organic and mineral fibres, and nitrile rubber (NBR), these gaskets have great elastomeric properties. They’re also highly resistant to chemicals, hold up well under compressions, and recover well (if not overstretched).
Non-asbestos gaskets are most suitable for low-pressure and low-temperature applications.
Spiral wound gaskets including the inner ring
The spiral wound gasket is the most popular type of gasket for oil and gas applications and is great for all pipe flange pressure ratings.
The gasket spiral has incredible sealing ability tolerances, making it suitable for a range of high-temperature and high-pressure applications (these gaskets can operate at temperatures ranging from -250 to 1,000 degrees Celsius.)
With good compressibility and recovery, the inner ring of a spiral wound gasket is made from stainless steel, the outer is made from carbon steel, and windings containing stainless steel are used to form the metal core.
Filler material includes flexible graphite, or you can opt for elastomeric fillers like PTFE if there is a requirement for increased chemical resistance.
Overall, spiral wound gaskets with an inner ring offer good compressibility and recovery; however, we must note that they are more complex to install – make sure to check out our post on the `installation of spiral wound gaskets.`
Spiral wound gaskets with no inner ring
This type of gasket is not suitable for everyday pipe flanges found in the oil and gas industry and is not suitable for high-pressure applications, as without the inner ring for support, this type of gasket can dislodge and break under stress.
However, spiral wound gaskets without the inner ring are compatible with groove flanges, as they can tolerate irregularities in the flange surface finish.
Envelope/double jacketed gaskets
Double jackets or PTFE gaskets with an inlay are used as flange gaskets, making them suitable for high chemical and high-pressure resistance applications.
However, it’s important to note that these gaskets suffer under compression and have a slow recovery making them unsuitable for high bolt loads. They also don’t have a good reputation for holding up to radial shear.
Flat metal gaskets
Constructed from a stainless steel core and containing no filler material, these gaskets can be fabricated from aluminium, copper, titanium, and even pure iron. Due to the nature of the sheet material used, it can also be manufactured in a range of shapes and sizes depending on requirements.
Suitable for low criticality, compressibility, and recovery applications, these gaskets must avoid applications operating under high temperatures and pressure.
In the oil and gas industry, kammprofile gaskets are more reliable than jacketed gaskets as their makeup includes stainless steel and a flexible graphite filler allowing them to withstand a high bolt load and achieve a good level of gasket stress.
Great for radial sheer, you can place these gaskets in high-pressure and high-temperature flanges.
Spiral Wound Gasket UK
Spiral wound gaskets are an incredibly popular option in the oil and gas industry, providing a robust sealing solution for various applications.
However, it is vital that you choose the right gasket for your application, and at SSP, we can help.
If you’re looking for a gasket to suit your requirements, speak to our team of specialists at Specialist Sealing Products today.