Temperature is an important factor to consider because each material has a different temperature capacity. If the application reaches high temperatures, it is essential to choose a material such as metal that is made to withstand that kind of heat consistently.
Choosing a material that has a lower temperature capacity would not prove useful, as the gasket would be unable to provide a proper seal for very long if at all. Chemical compatibility should also be considered; it is essential to choose a gasket material that will not break down as a result of the type of liquid or gas flowing through it.
Teflon is a good material to use on applications that have heavy chemical flow because Teflon is generally very non-reactive. EPDM, however, cannot withstand certain chemicals such as petroleum-based oils and would break down in that environment. Joint pressure, the pressure that will be put on the joint that the gasket is sealing, is important because the more pressure that is used in an application, the stronger the gasket material needs to be.
If a weaker material is chosen, the gasket may not seal properly and could wear out quickly. It is crucial to choose a material that will meet the specific needs of each application; otherwise, leaks could occur.
There are many different types of gasket materials. Three commonly used types include metal, rubber and Teflon. Metal gaskets are often made from materials such as steel, copper and nickel. These strong materials work well in high-temperature, high-pressure applications.
A sub-category of metal gaskets is jacketed gaskets. These gaskets have a metal jacket that surrounds a soft filler; the jacket still provides that high durability, but the added filler, often graphite or ceramic, helps give the material a more flexible seal, particularly to help cover uneven surfaces where plain metal is too flat to do so. Metal gaskets are frequently used for applications in the automotive and transportation industries.
Rubber gaskets are a widely used material because they are highly durable, flexible and work very well where large amounts of chemical flow and atmospheric elements are present. Synthetic rubbers such as Neoprene and EPDM are popular choices since both materials are made to withstand temperatures from around -60° to 300° F.
Neoprene is an inert substance, and EPDM is extremely water and weather-resistant, making them ideal gasket materials for applications in the automotive and waterproofing industries. Teflon is another popular material choice because of its non-reactivity. Also, Teflon cannot withstand high temperatures or pressures but has the lowest friction coefficient of any existing solid and can handle extreme cold flow and chemical flow without breaking down.
Gasket materials are manufactured by die-cutting to fit the specific needs of each application.