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Last edited 06 Nov 2017
A gasket can be used for many different purposes, but generally, it serves as a flexible seal that fills the space between two components joined under compression, preventing leakage through the gap between it. For example, when laying a pipeline, a gasket is used to create a seal between adjoining pieces of pipe, preventing liquids or gases leaking out from the pipeline, or from penetrating into the pipeline.
Gaskets can also be used for, or contribute to:
- Sound and noise reduction.
- Vibration reduction.
- Packaging seals.
- Hygiene control.
- Supports and mountings.
- Glazing and cladding.
The durability and safe operation of a gasket can be significantly enhanced by selecting the right material, taking into account the application and the environmental features it will be exposed to. Many different materials can be used to make gaskets. The key property is generally that they are capable of yielding to such a degree that they can tightly fill the required space. Flexible materials such as rubber, paper or cork are often used. Metal can also be used, to make spiral wound or copper head gaskets.
The material used, and its characteristics, will determine the properties of the gasket, which might include; resistance to chemicals, resistance to extreme temperatures, resistance to pressure and so on.
In pressurised systems, a gasket may also act as a safety device. The gasket is typically the weakest component of the system and will fail before a more potentially dangerous or costly response such as a pipe bursting or an explosion.
A gasket should allow the sealing surfaces to be separated and reassembled, allowing for essential maintenance to take place.
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