Gaskets are those familiar, if not indispensable, rubber components that are used in all industrial, manufacturing or mechanical processes. A gasket provides the sealing and cushioning material that fills the space between two mated parts or surfaces to prevent leakage or seepage of various lubricants, fluids, gases and fumes, and-or to join objects together under compression. In order to function, every machine or engine part, be it mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, no matter the size and scale, relies on a gasket to effectively seal it to its mated part during assembly.
Because not all sealing and cushioning material is equal, the specific material used for gaskets depends upon the specific fluid or lubrication used in, say, a machine or engine. Gasket material will vary depending on the application. Petroleum-based fuels use different gasket material than that in food processing environments. The following is intended to help inform clients, customers, and consumers in selecting the best gasket material for gasoline and like products.
What are the best gaskets for sealing petroleum-based fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and other aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons?
The type of gasket material used in the internal combustion engine must be compatible with fuel injectors and many other fuel system components. The best fuel resistant gasket material for gasoline is Nitrile (Buna-N), a closed-cell sponge rubber material that provides excellent gasket material for sealing applications that require resistance to gasoline, oil, fuels, as well as solvents, hydraulic fluids, and mineral and vegetable oils.
Closed-cell sponge rubber refers to expanded synthetic rubber, i.e., an elastomeric treated withholding gas and a chemical blowing agent that, when mixed and heated, can expand up to four inches. The resulting sponge is aged and then typically sliced to 5/8th of an inch thick in preparation for various applications.
Another gasket material that provides very good sealability is derived from vegetable fibers and vegetable fibers with cork gasket papers. Produced from a strong, flexible high-grade plant fiber, the material is then impregnated with protein and glycerin binders. These gaskets are used in industrial, chemical, petroleum and automotive applications. Material is chemically treated to resist oils, grease, gasoline and a number of other types of fluids. Its temperature limitation is +250˚F and the material will remain compressible under heavy pressure.
In what industries would gaskets for sealing petroleum-based fuels be used in?
The energy sector is the dominant industry that utilizes gaskets for sealing petroleum-based fuels. As a crucial part of the global infrastructure, the energy sector comprises those industries and companies related to the extraction, production, transportation, and delivery of petroleum-based fuels right down to the local gas station. Intrinsically related to the energy industry is the transportation industry that relies on it—the production of automobiles and all vehicles, aerospace and aviation, maritime, and rail, are all dependent on gaskets for sealing petroleum-based fuels.
What is Nitrile Rubber used for?
Nitrile is commonly used for many industrial and automotive applications. Most notably, it includes seals for petroleum-based fuels such as gasoline and diesel, and for oils. Nitrile is also used for oil handling hoses, material for grommets, transmission fluid seals, cushioning for shock and vibration mounts, and hydraulic fluid seals. Particular grades of Nitrile are used as carburetor gaskets and aircraft hose gaskets, too. Because Nitrile is a closed cell sponge rubber material, it is perfect for pressure-sensitive adhesives that allow for easy application of the material to surfaces.
What are the properties that make Nitrile ideal or dependable?
Nitrile Buna-N is an elastomer composed of acrylonitrile and butadiene. Its full chemical name is acrylonitrile-butadiene copolymer. Because its chemical and physical properties may be altered by the composition of acrylonitrile, different grades of Nitrile are available for different applications. For example, increasing the acrylonitrile content within the polymer gives the material greater resistance to oil. Other leading properties of Nitrile are its resistance to aliphatic hydrocarbons, its high resilience, and its high wear resistance. With regard to compression set or cold flow, tear, and abrasion resistance, Nitrile is better than most elastomers. It’s good for resisting acids and bases, but only those without strong oxidizing effects. In comparison to neoprene, Nitrile has a broader range of resistance to aromatic hydrocarbons, too. Finally, Nitrile rubber material is able to maintain its properties in commercial or industrial applications where temperatures range from -40°F to +275°F.