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Gaskets in general are mechanical seals used to check leaks between two surfaces. They prevent dirt, dust, fluid, electrostatic discharges and gases from blocking engines. They are made to be a bit flexible so that they could fit into different spaces. Gaskets are made from different materials such as metal, paper, rubber, cork, neoprene, fiber glass and nitrile rubber. The best material for making gaskets is silicone.
A gasket made from silicone is durable and has strong resistance to extreme temperatures such as extreme cold or extreme heat. It is able to withstand high compressive weight. Silicone gaskets are cheaper than most other kinds of gaskets. This is because silicone is a natural non metal which is readily abundant in the earth’s surface. It can be used outdoors, as it possesses ultra violet and ozone properties. Its major function is to prevent liquids from entering certain joints
They can be used for a variety of things in different places and for different purposes. They can be utilized to make pressure switches for furnaces, shaft sealing rings, sound dampeners for vehicle shafts, as well as oven door gaskets. They can also be used as conductive profile seals, electrical safety stinger cover and wire and cable covering. The vast uses of them extends to even heating, ventilating and air conditioning, mass transit systems, aircraft devices and telecommunications equipment.
TYPES OF SILICONE GASKET
There are different types. They are made through different processes and intended for different purposes.
INSERTION GASKET - It is a single ply made from natural and styrene butadiene. It has added strength and is fortified against over extension by the cotton added to it during the manufacturing process. It is used for general purpose sealing. It can be used in joints which harbor water and mild chemicals. However, it should not come in contact with oil, grease or fuel. This kind of silicone is made lighter than most others because of its uses in smaller joints.
PLATINUM CURE SILICONE - This is also called addition cure silicone because it has dual component turgidity. Platinum cure silicone is able to withstand tears and tugs. It is best used as a molding material for epoxy, polyester resins, casting polyurethane, wax and other materials for molding. In addition, it can be used for prosthetics, medical devices and make up for special effects. Platinum cure silicone has low shrinkage and is sensitive to latex and sulphur. It is stretchy. Platinum cure silicone is translucent and lasts long.
METAL DETECTABLE SILICONE - Metal detectable silicone contains chemicals that are detectable to metal detectors, which identify rubber contamination. It is useful in preventing contamination during production processes such as in food packaging or drink manufacturing. Metal detectable silicone is gasket is commonly used in pharmaceutical applications and food processing; as a result it has FDA approval. It has outstanding electrical insulation properties. This kind of gaskets is flame resistant and can withstand extreme temperatures.
SILICONE GASKET VERSUS OTHERS
While there are indeed a wide range of gaskets, it is more superior to these others because it has a wider range of use and adaptability.
VERSUS NEOPRENE - Neoprene gasket is suitable for applications that need oil resistant and tear-resistant properties. Silicone gasket is tear resistant, especially its platinum cure variety, and it can also withstand extreme temperatures and extreme weather conditions. Silicone outperforms neoprene in environments with high temperature. It has greater resistance to tear and can be used with peristaltic pumps and vacuum sheets. It is a better choice for applications which use oils applied with high temperature.
VERSUS METAL - Metal gaskets are stiff by nature because of the substance they are made from. Usually, they are ring shaped. This therefore limits them to few applications and machines. They are much more flexible and can take any shape. As a result, they are suitable for many applications.
VERSUS CORK - Cork gasket is susceptible to mold, fungi and acid attack. Its properties are difficult to determine and it has an upper temperature limit lower than those of many other elastomers. Cork gasket is limited to sealing water and oil. The reverse is the case for silicone gaskets. They are not vulnerable to attacks because they have better resistance to chemicals. They do not have limited uses. It can be used to seal a wide range of products.
VERSUS FIBER GLASS - Fiber glass gaskets are used in places of high temperatures such as boilers, stoves, furnaces and vehicles. While fiber glass silicone can resist extreme temperatures up to 1200 degrees Celsius, as opposed to silicone gasket’s 500 degrees, it still has the upper hand as it is flame resistant.
VERSUS NITRILE - While nitrile gasket is good at resisting chemicals, it falls short in some other aspects. Nitrile gasket has poor weather resistance. It is not compatible with chlorinated hydrocarbons, ozone, aldehydes, ketones, esters, brake fluids and concentrated acids. While silicone gasket is excellent for food processing and packaging and water processing equipment, especially its metal detectable kind, nitrile gasket on the other hand is not suitable.
Nitrile is good for automotive fuel applications, as it is compatible with hydrocarbon fuels and oils. It can withstand higher temperature, up to 230 degrees Celsius, while nitrile gasket can only take 100 degrees Celsius. Nitrile can get to an extreme of 120 degrees Celsius but would lose longevity and durability. Nitrile is unsuitable for outdoor applications because of its inability to withstand weathering. Silicone has good weathering qualities and can resist both ozone and ultra violet. In terms of compression, it has an advantage over nitrile gasket. The former experiences less compression than nitrile and is as a result a better choice for applications which need long lasting, reusable seals.
Silicone gaskets are indeed the best choice for your wide ran ge of applications. They are useful indoors and even better outdoors. They are cost effective and last very long. Gaskets made from silicone are also rugged and quite durable. They give you your money’s worth and outlast other kinds of gaskets.
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