Cork Gaskets

Synthetic Cork for Gaskets: Advantages & Properties

Cork is one of the oldest gasket materials, but it still has a role in sealing applications. It’s a flexible, closed-cell material that resists water and oil, and has excellent compressibility. However, as a natural material – cork is the bark of the cork oak tree – it can vary in quality. It’s also susceptible to various types of mold.

Synthetic cork is intended to have the same wide set of useful properties but without these limitations.

Composition Cork Vs. Cork Rubber

The natural cork used for gaskets is almost always composition cork. This is a conglomeration of cork particles held together with a binder. It’s produced in sheets up to ¼” thick and is usually die cut to produce gaskets.

The synthetic cork used for gaskets, also known as rubberized cork or cork rubber, improves upon composition cork by adding an elastomeric material. Rubberized cork is usually composed of 70% natural cork particles and 30% neoprene or NBR.

In addition to its role as a gasket material, natural cork has long been used as a stopper for wine bottles. In recent years supply shortages and problems resulting from natural variability have prompted development of synthetic cork. Made primarily from polyethylene, this works for sealing bottles, but isn’t going to make good gaskets.

Properties of Rubberized Cork

Neoprene resists oils and greases. Cork made with NBR resists these plus fuels and many solvents. The upper temperature limit for both is 250 °F.

Good applications are those that need a very compressible material. Flanges with uneven surfaces and those made from material that deforms under load are often best sealed with rubberized or synthetic cork gasket material.

Hennig, For All Your Gasket Material Needs

When replacing a gasket it’s usually best to stick with the material that came out. If that looks like a composition or synthetic cork, we can help. We carry rubberized gasket material in sheet and roll form, up to 48” wide and ¼” thick. Synthetic cork is readily die cut to the shape needed. Contact us for a quote.