Tag Archives: gaskets

What to Understand About Chemistry to Make the Best Materials Choices

In chemistry, a strong oxidizer is a substance (like chromic acid) that can cause other substances (like seals and gaskets) to lose electrons. So, an oxidizer is a chemical species that undergoes a reaction that removes one or more electrons from another atom. This causes a change in mass. Metals will turn into their respective heavier oxides, and the carbon in graphite will oxidize into carbon dioxide – which, although molecularly heavier, is a gas at room temperature. This happens in pumps, valves, pipelines or any other equipment that have seals and gaskets carrying a strong oxidizer. It will cause pitting or rust and, depending on your choice of seal material, may require shorter service intervals.

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The Importance of Using Thread Lubricants in Bolted Connections

Would you run your automobile engine without oil? Assembling a bolted joint without using a proper thread lubricant is a comparable scenario. Thread lubricants are often overlooked but can have a huge impact on the success of a bolted joint.

In any industrial plant, there can be thousands of bolted connections, primarily in the flanged connections throughout piping systems, on packed stuffing boxes on pumps and valves, and on heat exchanger covers, for example. All of these pieces of equipment are used to join components while maintaining a leak tight pressure boundary for a system.

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Troubleshooting Gasket Failure

In the oil, gas and process industry, engineers and technicians must face the problem of maintaining a hermetic seal for a variety of industrial equipment. An example is flanges, which are the most common attachment method of one pipe to another pipe or equipment. Since the parts to be jointed are both rigid, they both must be perfectly machined an aligned. They also must maintain this aligned position during changing service conditions in order to maintain a seal. This can be difficult to achieve given the nature of alloys used in equipment, the fluids to be contained, as well as process variables (such as vibration, temperature variations, wear and chemical compatibility) and cost constraints (man hour maintenance time, cost of products and downtimes).

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Storage & Shelf Life Prediction for Flange Gasket Materials

Flange gaskets are highly engineered products, and their performance depends on many factors. Certainly design, manufacture, installation, and process conditions are all critical, but so is storage before use. Gasket materials often remain in storage for a long time before they are placed into service. Unfortunately, storage practices for gasket materials are generally not optimal or controlled well enough. This article provides guidance for the storage of different gasket materials to preserve their integrity.

Gasket materials are divided into three main categories: non-metallic, semi-metallic and metallic. Non-metallic gaskets, or soft gaskets, are fabricated from materials such as rubber, fiber, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and graphite.

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Gasket Division – FSA Annual Meeting 2017

The Gasket Division of the FSA will be meeting on October 26. They will discuss the development of educational webinars for end users and higher level training on subjects such as bolting and safety. The division recently released their Gasket Handbook, 1st edition. There will be updated on the SWG performance standard and ASME 16.20 and ASME B16.21. New projects for the division include a Gasket Life Cycle Cost Calculator, training seminars, and contributing to the FSA’s Sealing Sense articles.

Gasket Installation Best Practices

Gasket failures can be problematic, causing unwanted downtime, revenue loss and safety concerns. Failure analysis shows that up to 85% of all gasket failures are due to faulty user installation, though it is important to note that with proper training and installation procedures, most of these failures are preventable. ASME PCC-1 is a post-construction guideline for pressure boundary bolted flange joint assemblies, and the bulk of gasket manufacturers derive their installation procedures from this guideline. For the end user who does not have an installation procedure, it is a great resource to have; however, the book is more than 99 pages and is not suitable to carry around in the field.

To help with this, the Fluid Sealing Association (FSA), in conjunction with the European Sealing Association (ESA), have created a Gasket Installation procedures pocket book (available in nine languages on the FSA and ESA websites (fluidsealing.com, europeansealing.com) to help installers focus on the key points of proper gasket installation. Following is a summary of the six principal areas of focus in sequential order.

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Improper Gasketed Joints Can Be Deadly

Safety is a concern at any industrial site. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration compliance specialist has stated that safety should be more than priority: “Priorities in an organization can and usually do change. Safety and health need to be a core value of the organization.”

Safety can be a case of values versus priorities. When it comes to sealing devices, perceived dangers sometimes are overlooked. The case of an explosion at a refinery in Anacortes, Washington, shows how deadly accidents can occur when safety risks are distorted.

A heat exchanger, known as E-6600E, catastrophically ruptured at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes on April 2, 2010. Highly flammable hydrogen and naphtha at more than 500 degrees F were released from the ruptured heat exchanger and ignited, causing an explosion and an intense fire that burned for more than three hours.

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Back to Basics: Semi-Metallic Gaskets

This is the second of two articles in this “Back to Basics” series that discusses gasketing. While the first article was on soft gaskets, this article will focus on semi-metallic gaskets.

Many variations of semi-metallic gaskets are available. In general, the combination of metal and a soft material merges the structural integrity of the metal with the sealing ability of the soft material. Common variations include corrugated, jacketed, kammprofile and spiral-wound gaskets.

Corrugated gaskets consist of a thin metal that is corrugated or embossed with concentric rings and faced with a soft material such as flexible graphite.

Corrugated gaskets use the substrate’s geometry to achieve conformability to flange irregularities and promote recovery over the life of the seal; they are essentially a line contact seal.

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Back to Basics: Soft Gaskets

A non-metallic gasket is one that does not have any metal in its construction and that consists of one or more materials such as elastomers, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), flexible graphite, natural fibers or mineral-based materials. The gasket also may be composed of a binder and filler(s), or it could be completely homogeneous.

Understanding the forces acting within a bolted joint flange assembly (BJFA) is critical because these forces have a direct impact on the performance and longevity of a soft gasket installed within a BJFA.

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FSA to Host Webinar, “How to Select the Correct Gasket”

One of the most critical yet overlooked aspects to successful flange sealing is selecting the correct gasket. Due to an aging workforce and lack of shared sealing knowledge, more focus is needed to be put on selecting the proper gasket. Industry records show that 1 in every 5 gasket failures indicates improper gasket style or material was used. The Fluid Sealing Association (FSA) is a manufacturer-based resource whose charter is educating industry including the correct selection of gasketing to ensure a safe and sound connection.

The FSA is proud to offer “How to Select the Correct Gasket” as a 1.5 hour webinar that will give vital information including the following subjects:

- Forces acting on a bolted connection
- Types of gaskets by categories (metallic, semi metallic, and non-metallic)
- Selection of gasket for applications
o Gasket related considerations
o Flange related considerations
o Fastener considerations
o Joint considerations

The Speakers:
Ron Frisard, Vice Chair of Gasket Division, Fluid Sealing Association
Chett Norton, Technical Chair of Gasket Division, Fluid Sealing Association

The webinar takes place live December 9th, 2016, at 2:00 EST. The cost of this interactive webinar is $50.00. If you cannot make the live version, we will have a recorded version on the FSA website to view on demand.

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