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Which gasket material should I use?

Learn everything you need to know about choosing the right gasket material for your project.

When it comes to selecting a gasket material for a particular application, there’s a lot to think about. From the shape to densities and properties of the material itself, the list of considerations is endless.

The gasket material is a mechanical seal which helps fill the space between two or more surfaces. It’s an integral component of a lot of equipment, vehicles and machinery. Choosing the wrong one will lead to leaks and blow-outs which can cost you more money in the long run. Or in extreme cases, a leaking flange set-up can cause injuries from any contact with hot or toxic chemicals.

The problem is, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Deciding on which gasket material to use is a matter of assessing the environment it’ll be in, what works best with the type of machinery you’re operating and evaluating the flange design and condition. To get you started, here’s a breakdown of the different types of gasket material on offer from leading gasket manufacturers.

Rubber Gaskets

Rubber gaskets are one of the most common materials used in gasket applications, due to their inherent properties as elastomers. They can bend, stretch, flex, twist and be formed into other shapes, making them perfect for filling up small spaces between two uneven surfaces you need to seal. Some common rubber gasket materials include:

Butyl Rubber Gaskets
Ideal for applications that are exposed to gases and water ingress, providing excellent weathering and ozone resistance.

Insertion Rubber Gaskets
Used as a water seal and reinforced with nylon fabric to provide extra strength and prevent stretch.

EPDM Rubber Gaskets
Always provide brilliant weatherproofing thanks to its resistance to ageing, UV, ozone and oxidation.

Neoprene Rubber Gaskets
Ideal as an external seal across a variety of applications, offering a top-quality watertight seal and resistance against oil and chemicals.

Silicone Rubber Gaskets
One of the best options within the electrical and renewable industry as they have fantastic sealing and insulation properties.

Nitrile Rubber Gaskets
Predominantly used in the automotive and industrial sectors, if you’re looking for first-class sealing against petrol-chemicals, greases and oils this is a great option.

Viton Rubber Gaskets
Often used in the oil and gas industry, Viton rubber gaskets offer outstanding sealing against gases and chemicals.

It’s worth noting that rubber gaskets aren’t as effective when temperatures become too hot or cold. In other cases, if the surrounding materials are too soft, it can lead to a lack of load or compression from bolts and compromise the effectiveness of the seal.

Sponge and Foam Gaskets

Foam gaskets are flexible for cutting and can either have a open-cell, semi closed cell and closed cell structure. This means they are highly effective as thermal and acoustic insulation, as well as shock and vibration control. They’re also perfect for sealing out dust and moisture. Common forms of foam gasket materials include polyurethanepolyethylenepolyamideNittoPVCpyrosorbECOcell and superseal.

Sponge gaskets have a closed-cell structure. It’s also very compressible and can work well in hot temperatures. Sponge gasket materials are best for outdoor applications and for reducing vibrations.

From EPDM sponge gaskets and Kaiflex EPDM gaskets to neoprene blend gaskets and nitrile PVC gaskets, there are various types of options to choose from – each suited to different applications.

Cork gaskets

Cork has been used as a sealing material for centuries, ever since the Romans used to cork their wine bottles with it.

As a gasket material, its closed-cell structure enables it to provide superb resilience and is extremely lightweight. Cork can withstand around half of its thickness and still recover when a load is removed, as well as resist water, many oils and ozone.

While natural cork does handle temperatures of up to 135C, other gasket materials are better equipped for hotter conditions. Instead, it thrives in sealing against water, gasses and liquids, and providing a perfect solution to rattling.

For good oil resistance under low pressure, neoprene cork gasket or nitrile cork gasket materials are a viable option.

The only major downfall to cork is that it isn’t particularly good in resisting mould, fungi and acid.

Felt gaskets

Another type of gasket material you can use is felt. Made from natural and synthetic materials including wool, acrylic and rayon, felt is usually used to manufacture gasket materials for architectural purposes – such as providing acoustic solutions and decoration.

One of the most common types of felt gasket materials is synthetic. It’s dense and renowned for its high-performance properties – including its resistance to tearing and fraying.

Where to buy gasket materials

The good news is that finding the best quality gasket materials is easy. At Ramsay Rubber, we’re one of the UK’s leading gasket manufacturers.

Whether you need foam gaskets, neoprene rubber gaskets or felt gaskets, we offer a wide range of materials in various shapes, sizes, thicknesses and densities. With full conversion capabilities, from material slitting, adhesive laminating, die-cutting, fabrication and assembly, we can create cellular die cut gaskets bespoke to your needs.