Metal Gasket/Steel Gasket Introduction
The term ‘metal gasket’ is used to describe a variety of parts, which create a seal between joined components. Gaskets are used across a broad spectrum of industries and applications. Metal gaskets are made from metallic materials. Gaskets, shims and washers can be manufactured using different metals to cater to a diverse range of environments and applications. In this guide, we’ll explore metal gaskets in detail, discussing the most common materials and how they are used.
What is a metal gasket?
A metal gasket is a mechanical seal, which is manufactured using metals or metal alloys. Gaskets have a huge range of uses across industries, including automotive design and manufacturing, engineering, construction, pharmaceuticals and energy.
What is a metal gasket used for?
The primary use of metal gaskets is to create a strong seal. Gaskets are used to create a barrier, which separates different materials or chemicals and prevents friction between moving components. Strong, properly fitted and maintained gaskets prevent leaks to boost performance, prevent damage, increase energy efficiency and shield surrounding parts.
There are several different types of metal gaskets, which include solid metal gaskets and jacketed metal gaskets. Solid gaskets are created using metallic materials while jacketed gaskets contain a different material, which is wrapped in an external layer of metal. The choice of materials will usually depend heavily on the environment and the application. Examples of gasket types include:
- Corrugated metal
- Flat metal
- Spiral wound
- Kammprofile/Camprofile gaskets
What are the most common metal gasket materials?
Gaskets are made using a wide variety of metals, including:
Copper is often recommended for applications and environments that involve exposure to steam. Copper has a maximum temperature of 400 degrees Celsius and it is most commonly used for small gaskets with limited seating stress.
There are several different types of stainless steel that are used to manufacture gaskets. The type reflects the hardness, maximum temperature, resistance to corrosion and pressure capabilities. Types of stainless steel gaskets include:
Stainless steel 304 is an all-rounder, which is commonly used in industrial applications. The hardest types are stainless steel 321, 347 and 410. The most resistant against corrosion are types 347, 316 and 304. Type 321 is suitable for high temperatures up to 760℃.
Carbon steel is usually used in applications, which involve liquid hydrocarbons. It is softer than other metals and will corrode when exposed to water.
Nickel has a high operating temperature and it offers relatively good erosion and corrosion resistance.
Aluminum is a popular choice for gaskets used in the manufacturing industry due to its powerful resistance to corrosion. It is also an easy metal to use, which makes it more appealing than other materials.
Metal gaskets applications and uses
Metal gaskets are made from a single metal or a combination of metals. They provide greater heat, erosion and corrosion resistance than non-metallic materials and are often chosen for high stress or pressure environments and applications that involve chemical exposure or extreme temperatures.
Metallic gaskets are commonly found in the following applications:
Metallic gaskets have a huge range of uses across a broad spectrum of industries.
- Heat exchangers
- Steam applications
- Offshore oil and gas pipelines
Industries that use metal gaskets include:
- Food production and storage
- Medicine and pharmaceuticals
What are the advantages of metal gaskets?
Several materials are used to create gaskets. Metal gaskets are often the best choice because they offer wide-ranging benefits that make them suitable for a diverse range of environments and applications. When compared to non-metallic materials, metals offer the following advantages:
- Withstanding high temperatures up to over 1,000 degrees Celsius
- Chemical resistance
- Boundless pressure capabilities
- Resistance to environmental conditions and changes in weather and climate
- Ability to enhance capabilities by creating metal alloys: alloys can offer additional benefits to single metals
How to choose the right gasket for your application
Choosing the right gasket material is essential to ensure optimum performance and safety. Gaskets are used across a huge range of applications, and one material may be better suited to a specific environment or function than another. It is important to consider the following factors when choosing gaskets:
- The environment or setting
- The application
- The type of seal required
- Pressure resistance
- Surface evenness
- Exposure to fluids and environmental contaminants
Selecting the right material for a gasket is key to successful operation. With a vast array of metal gaskets available, it can be difficult to determine which material is best if you are not an expert in this field. If you are looking for gaskets for a specific project or application, and you’re unsure which material to choose, it’s wise to seek advice. If you make the wrong selection, there is a risk of leaks, accelerated wear and tear and compromised performance. Ill-fitting gaskets and using materials that are not suitable for the environment can also cost you more money in the long term.
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Need help finding the right gasket material?
The MEGA Gasket team has extensive experience in engine gasket kit and providing tailored advice and solutions for clients operating across a variety of industries. If you need help or advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We can provide customized advice and recommendations based on your requirements and the demands of the individual project. Contact us today by filling in this quick and easy online enquiry form.