How Does a Gasket Work?

Gaskets come in all shapes and sizes. The gasket performs the same duty regardless of its composition of material. It seals surfaces from liquids and solids. The gasket can be made from cork, glass, metal, and rubber or even as a silicone from a tube.

What Gaskets Dol

The Cork Gasket

Probably one of the oldest types of gasket around is the cork type. The material has been used whenever a high temperature is not employed for sealing. An oil pan or transmission system on a car may use a cork gasket. The gasket is used to seal the main surface of the engine or transmission to the oil holding pan. Cork, although may be fragile when attempting to bend it, the compressive strength of the material is very strong and provides a tight seal.

The Glass Gasket

Whenever a high temperature is in the area of something that needs to be sealed a glass impregnated gasket may be used. Large boilers and small wood stoves may use a type of glass gasket to seal doors and removable ends. The glass impregnated gasket uses small glass fibers woven into a rope type gasket. This gasket when first installed is very pliable to conform to any shape. But when heat is applied combined with the force of holding it in place, it will become very rigid. The seal will actually set in place to provide a permanent seal to inside or outside elements.

The Metal Gasket

The metal gasket will be used whenever high temperature is found and the two surfaces to be sealed may move due to heating and cooling of the mating surfaces. A great example in this is that of a head gasket for a car or truck. The head on a vehicle will expand when heated under normal operation and contract when cooling or when the engine is off. The metal gasket has the ability to expand and contract with the surrounding surfaces it is mated to and seal.

The Rubber Gasket

The most widely used gasket in the world is the rubber gasket. From the pickle jar at the store to the home canning lid you may use, they all contain a rubber gasket. The faucet in your kitchen and bathroom, contain a rubber gasket to keep the water where it belongs, in the pipes. The garden hose at every female end uses a small rubber gasket to seal it to the male end. These type of rubber gaskets use a compression fit to keep it in place and create the seal. The versatility of the rubber gasket allows it to be cut or formed in any shape or size.

The Silicone Gasket

Sold in a tube, large or small, silicone has become the end all in creating a tight seal. The ability to squirt a gasket wherever is needed has made silicone a popular choice for kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor use for gaskets. The ability for silicone to cure once it reaches air, allows this material to be used not only in the household but in automobiles as well. Silicone can be made to with stand very low temperatures as in the Arctic or the high temperatures of a furnace. Some forms of silicone as even used on spacecraft where critical gaskets can mean life or death to astronauts.