What are the Functions of a Rubber Gasket?

Most manufacturing industries are familiar with rubber gaskets and recognize their importance. A gasket is an elastomeric mechanical seal that fills the intersection between two surfaces. Aside from rubber, it can be made of fiberglass, cork or paper, plastic polymer, metal, or copper to resist the pressure. It requires high precision with appropriate material to increase its efficiency and provide optimal results. The sealing power of gaskets allows all equipment, machinery, and pipelines to function effectively. These are most useful in industries like Petrochemical and deep-sea, pharmaceutical, food processing, oil and gas, mining, and military. Their material is chosen for its attributes and abilities to withstand different environmental conditions alkaline and acids, mining and deep-sea, resistance to chemicals, pressure, and temperature.

The functions and uses of rubber gaskets are broad and considered indispensable to every industry and frequently fulfilling their chemical operational requirements.

What are the major functions of rubber gaskets? 

Industrial Water Filtration System

Disinfection using Ultraviolet light (UV) is extensively acknowledged and proven as an effective method in treating industrial wastewater in businesses like oil and gas, microelectronics, and food and beverages. When pathogenic microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, and protozoa are exposed to Ultraviolet light, the UV energy eliminates their genetic material. It destroys the pathogens’ capacity to reproduce and cause diseases and infections. This process is called thymine dimerization

Ideally, in a wastewater treatment facility, a metal gate is bolted to solid frames to control the flow of water and to move or channel liquid waste for disinfection. Rubber gaskets are installed to seal the gap between the gate and the frame. The gate seal should withstand or resist prolonged water exposure, clenched fastener, mechanical stress, and abrasive contact with the concrete frame. Resistance to UV light is crucial, thus, the rubber gasket has to resist specific substances and a range of temperatures.

Automotive Industry

There are several uses of rubber gaskets in the automotive industry. One of which is, they prevent dirt and grime from entering the axle tube that will cause damage to major automobile transmission components. Gaskets and seals can also remove impurities while keeping the gear oil in place. They are also efficient in sealing and fixing the pipe joints that matched specific components to obstruct any oil and liquid leakage. They protect the engine and transmission and ensure that they are free from liquid, oil, and coolant leaks.  Without these gaskets, metal joints may fail due to erosion and corrosion.

In the UK, both modern and classic car owners pay attention to high-quality gasket material especially when it comes to handling temperature and pressure. The rubber and seal industry in this country is vast and you can learn more about rubber gaskets here. They provide advice on other items including exhaust gaskets, window seals, O-rings, etc. Most companies offer the most suitable solutions through their wide array of materials.

Pharmaceutical Industry

The pharmaceutical package involves filling, sealing, and sterilizing, including a polypropylene bottle. To absorb pressure, the method also introduces the use of a silicon rubber gasket into the bottle cap and to avoid any leakage during the steam sterilization process. The pharmaceutical industry uses rubber gaskets that have high resistance to chemicals as they are normally exposed to harsh substances. Choosing the appropriate material means the gasket won’t collapse or breakdown that may affect the process or products being produced. The sealing process in this industry is critical because it entails hygienic application and cleaning procedures. 

Sanitary Industry

Rubber gaskets are also used in the sanitary industry and have a variety of applications. They can be used for food, beverage, milk, and any food compliant chemicals. Most of which are non-toxic and non-allergenic. They should have chemical endurance and mechanical strength. There is a different category for the sanitary gasket. You can choose from elastomeric, fibrous, non-metallic, and metallic. There are also factors in deciding the category. These factors include operating temperature range, chemical compatibility, application of the gasket, and internal pressure.

Companies adhere to the strict guidelines of the FDA and USDA for compliance and safety. A specialized rubber gasket ensures that all food and beverages are safe and free from any contamination during the process state. The materials used to maintain the highest degree of sterility.

Mining Industry

This material has an anti-flame propagation solution. A rubber gasket is useful in underground mines as they prevent potential ignitability hazards. The rubber acts as a cover for pipes, equipment frames, metal surfaces, and other underground mining apparatus. It isolates conductive elements to avoid static build-up. It also fireproofs flammable materials. In the occurrence of a spark, the rubber lessens the accumulation of static electricity. Anti-static material has the property and impact of dampening surfaces which protect steel surfaces from high-speed aggregate loads.

Military and Defense Industry

The US Military specifications and standards for rubber gaskets to ensure they meet certain performance requirements. In the defense industry it is important to rely on the reliability of the synthetic and natural rubber compound. In the most environmental extreme, the military uses rubber fuel tanks or pillow bladders. These pillow bladders provide a high level of protection of the stored liquids, to make sure the contents don’t come in contact with air, minimizing the risk of evaporation and explosion. The convenience of transportation and easy set up is one of the desirable properties of rubber fuel tanks. Rubber weapon storage is fireproof and can absorb the energy of an impact. It is also used as a pilot face mask. This supplies ample oxygen to Pilots who perform high-speed G-force maneuvers to prevent them from blacking out. While it also supplies oxygen, it also houses a microphone for communication and command purposes. Staying watertight is necessary for submarines and ships. Their water-tight doors and hatches also have thick rubber seals with series of clips.

Rubber gaskets may look simple and less significant, but they have so many uses and functions. They should not be taken for granted considering their importance in almost all major industries. All we need is a high-quality material.

Robert Cooke
Rob is a certified mechanic and long-time automotive enthusiast who has worked on everyday passenger vehicles, race and rally cars, and derby cars.