How Hot is too Hot? Choosing the Right Gasket Material for a Non-Metallic Gasket

For non-metallic gasket applications, the operating temperature of the finished product is a major consideration. You need to know the temperature range (and other strengths and weaknesses) of potential materials so you can get the most durable custom gaskets and seals. Otherwise, they could prematurely harden, crack, deform and lose strength, elasticity and resilience, etc.

The following is a list of common non-metallic gasket materials, their properties and their most stable operating temperature ranges (in Fahrenheit). Understand that while there may be wiggle room on either end, it’s best to aim for somewhere in the middle of each particular material’s temperature range so that the gasket or seal performs optimally for the longest period of time before replacement is needed.

Nitrile: -30 to 250F (very resistant to oils, aromatic hydrocarbons, fuels and solvents).

Neoprene: -35 to 225F (resistant to weather, water, combustion and a long list of chemicals).

Polyurethane: -35 to 225F (resistant to oxygen, ozone, cracking, abrasion, cuts, grease and heavy loads; frequently used in machine mounts, electrical equipment wear pads and applications needing shock absorption).

Ethylene Propylene: -70 to 250F (resists severe weather conditions, acids, oxygen, alkalis, hot and cold water and ketones; not suitable for use with oils or fuels).

Fluorocarbon: -15 to 400F (its low friction and resistance to wear and tear make this a good material for gaskets that endure movement, a wide temperature variation and frequent reassembly).

Silicone: -65 to 450F (very resistant to hot, cold and oxygen, but poor resistance to oils and fuels; frequently used in food processing and medical applications).

Polytetrafluoroethylene: -238 to 574F (extremely wide temperature range, also stands up to harsh conditions of all sorts; frequently used in food processing, pharmaceutical, laboratory, semi-conductor, petrochemical and chemical and electrical applications).

Temperature range is, of course, just one aspect of a non-metallic gasket material that you will need to consider before project implementation; nevertheless, temperature tolerance is crucial. If you need custom gaskets and seals for your project, please call us at 1-800-747-7661 to discuss your needs with us.

Properties of Neoprene Gasket Material

Neoprene, which is also known as “polychloroprene,” is a type of synthetic rubber produced by the polymerization of chloroprene. Neoprene gasket material has become very common due to the fact that it resists the likes of ozone, sunlight, oxidation and many petroleum derivatives. Additionally, neoprene is characterized as being weather-, combustion-, water- and chemical-resistant. As you can see, it’s popular because it is resistant to many types of damages. What’s more, it’s also resistant to damage from twisting and flexing.

Here’s a closer look at the properties of neoprene so you can judge whether or not it’s a good material for your application:

  • Stretch and cushioning properties: Neoprene is elastic and form-fitting, able to conform to various sizes and shapes. It’s also cushioning, able to absorb shock.
  • Various grades available: From cloth inserted neoprene, which is reinforced with nylon for additional stability, to flame retardant neoprene, which passes a variety of flammability specifications, there are several grades available to suit any application. Other popular grades include commercial, FDA approved, diaphragm and high tensile strength.
  • General gauge thicknesses vary in size from 3/32-inch up to 2 inches.
  • Hardness ratings vary from 40 to 80.
  • Plate finish.
  • Neoprene can withstand temperatures ranging from -20 degrees F to 180 degrees F.
  • Tensile strength ranges from 900 to 1,000 PSI.
  • Elongation ranges from 350% to 400%.
  • Finally, widths are 36 inches, 48 inches or 72 inches.
  • Pressure sensitive adhesive, or PSA, are available upon request.
  • We fabricate neoprene gaskets through proven manufacturing processes that include waterjet cutting, flash cutting and die cutting.

One other neat feature about neoprene is that it’s impermeable, meaning that it can work as a tight barrier to prevent the escaping of gases or liquids.

For more information on the neoprene material and neoprene gaskets, and to speak with someone about placing an order, contact us today.

Three Ways to Make Gaskets Last Longer

Replacing gaskets is often costly. Unplanned downtime and maintenance hours dwarf the actual price of the gasket or seal, so you need it to last as long as possible. Gasket life depends very much on service conditions but there are things you can do to reduce the likelihood of premature failure.

1. Match the gasket material to the job.

Start by considering “TAMP.” This memory-jogging acronym stands for temperature, application, media and pressure. Specific factors to consider are: temperature of media (which should include any cleaning processes,) and the external temperature range, internal pressure, and the nature of the media itself, particularly whether it’s corrosive.

Look at the gap being sealed. Is it uneven? How often will the joint be opened? An enclosure gasket for an indoor electrical cabinet sees very different usage and conditions to what boiler seals endure.

Then select the gasket material. Conformable elastomers like NBR are a popular choice but are limited in temperature and pressure capability. EPDM and neoprene are often used for food grade gaskets as they clean easily. PTFE holds up well to corrosive media, graphite is soft and handles high temperatures.

2. Store gaskets correctly

Avoid exposure to sunlight as UV accelerates aging. Temperature extremes will do the same, so keep them away from heat sources and in winter protect them from freezing. Humidity can damage some materials too.

Don’t hang gaskets because they’ll stretch. Don’t place loads on them as the material may take a compression set. Rubber ages, so if possible, use date codes and discard after four years.

3. Use best-practice installation techniques

Clean surfaces thoroughly, then inspect for damage, especially any scoring that creates a potential leak path. Clean and lubricate bolt threads and heads to avoid making torque appear higher than what the joint actually sees. Seat the gasket carefully, then bring the joint together and follow best-practice methods for tightening.

Premature gasket failure often forces unplanned downtime, disrupting schedules and hitting capacity. Careful attention to gasket material selection, storage and installation reduces the likelihood of premature failure and all the costs that go with that.