How to Design the Right Gasket

Gaskets are mechanical seals used to fill the gap between two mated components. When designed, constructed, and installed correctly, they prevent process fluids from escaping and contaminants from entering sensitive equipment. As these sealing materials play a critical role in many fluid handling and processing operations, industry professionals follow strict guidelines dictating how to design, construct, and install them properly.

In the following article, we cover some of the considerations regarding the design of rubber gasket seals.

Key Design Considerations for Gaskets

The installation of the wrong gasket can result in leaks, damage, and other issues in a fluid system. It can also cause the premature wear and failure of the gasket, which translates to frequent investment in gasket repair and replacement operations. With these consequences in mind, it is important to use the right gasket for the given application. Below we outline some of the factors to consider when designing a gasket to ensure it functions as intended.

Construction Material

The construction material chosen largely determines how the gasket will perform. As such, it is essential to consider what qualities are expected of the finished gasket and what materials fit these requirements. When vetting potential material options, some of the properties to keep in mind include:

  • Density: the material’s mass per volume (lbs./ft.3)
  • Hardness: the material’s ability to resist plastic deformation resulting from indentation, penetration, and other mechanical forces
  • Elasticity: the material’s ability to return to its shape and size after experiencing deformative forces

rubber gaskets

These properties are critical to the sealing performance of the gasket. However, the levels required depend on the system in which the gasket will be installed. For example, sponge rubber (both open-cell and closed-cell) generally exhibits lower density and better elasticity than solid rubber, which makes it suitable for some—but not all—applications. It may be helpful to acquire samples of materials to determine which one best fits a given system.

Some of the most common materials used in the manufacture of gaskets are:

  • Silicone: Silicone is a highly versatile and resilient material that is available in solid, foam, and sponge variations. It does not react with or deteriorate when exposed to many chemical substances. It is often used for gaskets due to its ability to form a tight seal, remain flexible in high or low temperatures, and resist water, shrinking, and UV and ozone damage.
  • Neoprene: Neoprene is a synthetic rubber compound that exhibits good durability, resisting damage and degradation stemming from exposure to UV radiation, ozone, chemical and corrosive compounds, and oils and other petroleum-based products. It also remains flexible in temperatures as high as 120° C and as low as -40° C.
  • Nitrile: Nitrile is a synthetic rubber that finds use in a wide range of applications. However, it is particularly suitable for environments exposed to grease, oil, and water.

Gasket Design

The design of a gasket depends on the system in which it will be installed. Tailoring the gasket to fit snugly between the mated components is essential; otherwise, it will not function as intended. The design elements to consider include:

  • Shape: the geometric form of the gasket (from the face)
  • Cross-section: the geometric form of the gasket (from the profile)
  • Thickness: the distance between the gasket’s faces

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Application Environment

The operating and environmental conditions to which the gasket will be subjected affect what construction materials and gasket designs are appropriate. When determining the above two factors, it is critical to keep in mind the following:

  • What temperature ranges are expected?
  • What operating pressures ranges are expected?
  • What chemicals will the gasket be exposed to during operations and maintenance services?

The above list of questions is not all-inclusive. There are many other operating and environmental factors that can affect a gasket’s performance. Partnering with an experienced and knowledgeable gasket supplier can help determine which gasket materials and designs are suitable for a particular application.

Get Your Custom Made Gaskets From the Experts at Thomas A. Caserta

At Thomas A. Caserta, we’ve provided precision engineered rubber products—including gaskets—for over 70 years. Equipped with extensive industry experience and quality materials, our team has the knowledge, skills, and tools to design and manufacture custom rubber gaskets for any industrial application. To learn more about our gasket making capabilities or partner with us for your molded gasket needs, request a quote today.

Tubing in the Medical Industry

Manufacturers specializing in medical grade tubing must meet strict regulatory requirements to ensure the safety and efficacy of these products. Medical rubber and silicone tubing can be found in an array of medical devices, from respiratory equipment and IVs to laboratory equipment.

A curing process removes potentially harmful plasticizers from silicone, making it an ideal material for medical applications. Medical grade silicone tubing is flexible, easily sterilized, and biocompatible.

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Advantages

When manufactured with the proper expertise, medical grade rubber and silicone tubing has many benefits, such as:

  • Available in different grade options: Grades of silicone tubing include FDA Grade, Class VI Grade, and Platinum Cure Grade. These options allow for greater flexibility when choosing an appropriate product—Platinum Cure Grade tubing, for example, is particularly strong and commonly utilized in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.
  • Biocompatible: Many types of medical equipment must be placed directly into a patient’s body, meaning that it is vital for the equipment to be biocompatible to reduce the risk of complications. Since approximately three million people in the U.S. are allergic to natural rubber latex, silicone is an excellent synthetic alternative.
  • Clear: Material clarity makes it easier for medical professionals to monitor the flow of fluid when the medical tubing is used in applications such as IVs and blood drainage. Silicone has a high level of natural transparency, although it can also be customized with various pigments if desired.
  • Chemically inert, odorless, and tasteless: These properties mean that medical grade rubber and silicone tubing will not interact with the materials it touches, thus greatly improving its versatility. It is ideal for the administration of any type of medication, oxygen, or food.
  • Compatible with multiple sterilization processes: The medical industry requires frequent sterilization to eliminate contamination and ensure patient safety. Rubber tubing holds up to multiple sterilization processes, including steam autoclaving and dry heat.
  • Extreme temperature resistance: Rubber’s ability to withstand immense heat makes it ideal for use in critical medical equipment, as medical professionals can easily sterilize and disinfect it with heat-based processes. In fact, silicone tubing can resist temperatures of up to 440° F.

In addition to the benefits listed above, silicone elastomers have an incredibly advantageous trait: their silicone-oxygen bond gives them a molecular stability that creates strong biodurability. This means that silicone tubing is particularly well suited for applications that must have consistent contact with skin or bodily fluids, such as catheter tubing. Silicone also remains flexible without the use of additives, another property that improves its biocompatibility.

Applications of Hoses and Tubes

rubber and silicone tubing for medical

Medical grade silicone and rubber tubing is incredibly versatile. Some common applications include:

  • Anesthesiology and respiratory equipment
  • Biopharmaceutical laboratory equipment and processing
  • Cell and tissue culture systems
  • Dialysis
  • IVs and catheters
  • Management and drainage of blood and fluids
  • Oxygen transfer
  • Peristaltic pumps
  • Surgical drains

As there is such a wide array of possible uses for medical tubing, it is important to account for the desired properties of the tubing to select the most appropriate option. For example, tubing intended for internal human contact may need to be flexible, while tubing intended for laboratory equipment may need to be more rigid. The proper medical grade silicone tubing supplier will be able to provide tubing in a variety of sizes, styles, and lengths to ensure that all requirements are met.

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Work With the Trusted Tubing Manufacturers at Thomas A. Caserta

Medical rubber tubing is a vital component in many critical, life-saving devices. At Thomas A. Caserta, Inc., we understand the importance of this equipment, and we create each part with expertise, precision, and a strong knowledge of the medical industry. For over 70 years, our clients have trusted us to provide the highest quality medical grade tubing. Our offerings include medical grade silicone tubing and rubber tubing and cords.

Contact us or request your quote today to learn about our medical tubing solutions.

How To Design The Right Gasket

How To Design The Right Gasket

How To Design The Right Gasket