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.

The Advantages of Silicone for Rubber Products

Silicone rubber is a highly versatile material valued for its flexibility, biocompatibility, and resistance to temperatures, UV light, radiation, and ozone.

Its unique properties make it particularly useful in the medical, aerospace, and electrical sectors for a variety of components, including tubing, washers, gaskets, and other sealing hardware.

At Thomas A. Caserta, we specialize in manufacturing rubber products from a variety of quality rubber materials, including silicone rubber.

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Why Silicone Rubber?

Silicone rubber is one of the most commonly used synthetic rubbers on the market. It is composed of silicone bonded with hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen to create cross-linked polymers reinforced with silica. The result is a unique synthetic elastomer that offers the ideal balance of mechanical and chemical characteristics for the most demanding applications.

Silicone rubber offers distinct advantages over other elastomers, including:

  • Environmental resistance: Silicone rubber exhibits a high level of resistance to harsh environmental factors, including UV radiation, open flames, extreme temperatures, and corrosive chemicals.
  • Thermal stability: Silicone rubber will retain its shape, durability, and flexibility in extreme hot and cold temperatures.
  • Moisture sealant: Silicone rubber is water repellent and malleable, which makes it an excellent sealant.
  • Highly versatile: Silicone rubber can be molded and shaped to meet even the most detailed specifications. The formulation can be adjusted to enhance or downplay characteristics, such as electrical conductivity, flexibility, and toughness.
  • Easy sterilization: Silicone rubber can withstand high temperatures, harsh chemicals, and radiation exposure required with FDA regulated sterilization methods, making it a useful medical-grade material.
  • Color friendly: Silicone rubber is easy to color prior to the curing process, so that it exhibits a lasting, vivid shade.
  • Electrical properties: Silicone rubber is an excellent electrical insulator, however the addition of metal or carbon black can improve its conductive properties.
  • Range of hardness: Silicone rubber can be formulated to exhibit different ranges of flexibility and hardness, depending on the needs of the application.
  • Durable and reliable: Silicone is highly durable and retains its shape and flexibility in extreme conditions, making it a particularly reliable material for use in critical applications.

With its ability to conform to the needs of nearly any application, it is no surprise that silicone rubber is one of the most widely used materials.

Properties of Silicone Rubber

silicone rubber parts

Silicone rubber exhibits unique physical, mechanical, and chemical properties that enhance its usefulness, including:

  • Flame retardant: Silicone rubber exhibits high thermal stability.
  • Steam resistant: Its high thermal stability also allows silicone rubber to retain its shape and consistency when exposed to high temperature steam.
  • Food-grade and medical-grade ratings: Silicone rubber is highly resistant to temperatures, chemicals, and radiation used for the sterilization of food processing and medical equipment, making it an ideal food-grade and medical-grade material.
  • Excellent compression set: Silicone rubber exhibits a high compression set, and will retain its shape under high levels of repeated or extended compression and extreme temperatures.
  • UV and radiation resistance: Silicone rubber will not degrade with repeated or prolonged exposure to UV or other types of radiation.
  • Rebound and resilience: Depending on the formulation, silicone rubber is highly flexible and will rebound or return to its original shape and configuration after it is flexed or bent.
  • Metal adhesion: Silicone rubber exhibits excellent adhesion to metals, particularly during molding and extrusion processes.
  • High tensile strength: Depending on the formulation and manufacturing process, silicone rubber exhibits tensile strength from 200 to 1,500 psi.
  • Chemically and biologically inert: Silicone rubber reacts to very few chemical or biological agents.

Silicone rubber’s highly resistant, physically resilient, and durable nature makes it ideal for molded rubber components in a broad range of temperatures and environments.

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Custom Silicone Seals From Thomas A. Caserta

At Thomas A. Caserta, Inc., we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality rubber parts and components in the industry. For more than 70 years, we have been a reliable manufacturer of stock and custom tubing and sealing components for medical, dental and food industries, among others.

Our state-of-the-art facilities and knowledgeable experts are capable of creating FDA, medical- and surgical-grade tubing, among other quality products from a variety of rubber materials, including silicone rubber. To learn more about our superior silicone rubber products and services, contact us today or request a quote.

Nitrile vs. Neoprene: Which Material Is Best?

Nitrile and neoprene are rubbers that exhibit similar properties, but with differing characteristics that make them useful for different applications. Both materials are elastic, and will return to their original shape when stretched. Nitrile is particularly resistant to chemicals, abrasion, and temperatures, while neoprene is valued for its weather resistance and durability.

Below we provide a more in-depth look at the properties and advantages of nitrile and neoprene and their industrial uses.

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Neoprene Products     Nitrile  Products

Properties & Advantages

Although nitrile and neoprene display similar properties, they are different substances, each with its own unique chemical makeup.
Nitrile is composed of acrylonitrile and butadiene polymers, which are chemically treated to enhance branching. The molecular composition of the polymers is not highly organized, so different fillers can be added to enhance or improve properties such as tensile strength and heat resistance.

Neoprene, or polychloroprene, is a synthetic rubber made up of polymers of chloroprene molecules through a process of free radical polymerization and various chemical reactions. The polymers are chemically treated to enhance polymer branching, for a more flexible material.

Nitrile Properties

Nitrile displays numerous properties that make it ideal for industrial applications, including:

  • Extremely high chemical resistance. Nitrile is highly resistant to oils and solvents, such as engine oil, gas, alkalis, acids, and petroleum-based hydraulic fluids. This makes it useful for components frequently exposed to harsh chemicals and fuel.
  • Exceptional abrasion resistance. Nitrile is resistant to abrasive forces and does not tear easily. This makes it ideal for components that encounter a great deal of friction, such as washers and diaphragms.
  • High water resistance. Nitrile is highly resistant to water-based corrosion and will not break down or become waterlogged when exposed to water. It is particularly valued for use in waterproof gloves.

Neoprene Properties

Neoprene also has a variety of physical properties that make it useful in industrial applications, including:

  • Exceptional weather resistance. Neoprene displays resistance to weather, ozone, UV radiation, freons, and mild acids. This makes it ideal for use in outdoor applications.
  • Excellent impact resistance. Neoprene is highly durable and impact resistant, which makes it valuable for gaskets and seals in high impact industrial machinery.
  • Elastomeric. Neoprene is highly flexible and returns easily to its original shape. Its resilient nature makes it useful for industrial components that require both strength and flexibility.

Material Advantages

As evidenced above, both nitrile and neoprene offer distinct advantages for use in industrial applications. Nitrile is valuable for its superior chemical, abrasion, and water resistance. Neoprene, on the other hand, is prized for its particular resistance to weather and impact. Due to their particular properties, each material is used for a different range of products.

Standard Rubber Products

While both nitrile and neoprene display similar elastomeric properties, their differing chemical and physical characteristics make them useful for distinctly different applications and industries.

Nitrile rubber products are highly valued in the aerospace, defense, infrastructure, medical, and mobile equipment industries. Common nitrile product applications include:

  • Fuel systems. Nitrile is used in fuel tanks, gas hoses, oil seals, and other fuel system components.
  • Mobile equipment. Nitrile is often used in mobile equipment components, such as carburetors and hydraulic hoses.
  • Military vehicles. Military vehicles rely upon nitrile seals and gaskets in their fuel systems and hydraulic hoses.
  • Medical gloves. Nitrile is a popular option for highly durable and disposable medical gloves.

Neoprene is commonly used for rubber washers, gaskets, bushings, and tubing. Neoprene is popular for sealing and insulation applications such as:
nitrile vs neoprene

  • Shock absorbers. Neoprene is often used in seals for shock absorbers.
  • Power transformers. Neoprene noise isolators are used to reduce sound vibrations from power transformers.
  • Structural support. Neoprene is highly valuable for use in expansion joints and bearing pads for load-bearing structures.
  • Windows and doors. Neoprene seals are useful for sealing windows and doors.
  • Electrical. Neoprene is non-conductive and is therefore widely used to seal electronic enclosures and VAC units.
  • Hose covers. Neoprene’s weather resistance makes it a common material for hose covers.

Ask the Experts at Caserta, Inc.

Depending on your application’s specific needs and requirements, both nitrile and neoprene offer a variety of benefits. For more information on the best material for your needs, consult with the rubber product specialists at Caserta, Inc.

How Rubber Products Made Their Way Into the Fastening Industry

Conventional fasteners—which include bolts, rivets, nuts, and screws— can efficiently mount a number of items to surfaces or surfaces to each other. However, regular fastening isn’t enough in certain industrial applications to prevent unwanted and unintentional flow of potentially damaging gases and liquids.

When fasteners are used in conjunction or fused with a rubber product, like a rubber washer or rubber gasket, they form a much more effective seal against all kinds of external contaminants.

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The Added Benefits of Rubber

A washer is a thin, disk-shaped plate with a hole in the center. It has a number of uses, such as a spring, wear pad, spacer, or locking device. Rubber washers help threaded fasteners in a number of ways. One example is it effectively distributes and maintains clamp load, which prevents movement or corrosion of the fastener.

A few of the reasons why rubber products have long been used with metal fastener parts include:

  • Certain rubber washers have a specific design to keep the nut or bolt from getting loose. A rubber spacer can be used with the assembly part that is most likely to turn, like the nut. It can be used under the bolt head when the bolt screws into threads in one part of the assembly.
  • A rubber washer can protect the assembled parts’ surface. A nut or bolt head that turns throughout the tightening process may damage the surface of the part around the hole, and a washer can take the brunt of the force instead of the part.
  • A thin material is sometimes part of the assembly, and a larger diameter rubber washer is useful in distributing the pressure of the bolt across a bigger part of the thin material. In these situations, the washer is used against the thin material to prevent pullout of the fastener or make sure the material is flatter.

The Power of Metal and Rubber for Fastening

In the fastening industry, rubber products are useful for a range of applications to support traditional fasteners.

fastening industry

A number of industries utilize this enhanced fastener solution, including:

  • Aerospace
  • Agriculture
  • Chemical manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Defense/military
  • Transportation
  • Automotive

Many of these industries use rubber washers and rubber gaskets for their enhanced sealing protection against the harsh environments and substances that are commonly encountered in the field. Improper sealing leads to loss of pressure and unwanted leaks in certain applications, which can result in equipment damage, cross-contamination, and inefficient processes. Any of those can further lead to expensive repair or maintenance operations, reduced productivity, and operational downtime.

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Request Your Custom Rubber Products Today

Rubber washers and gaskets are essential in the fastening industry when they are used with traditional fasteners like nuts, bolts, and screws; the rubber components provide extra sealing protection against the environment and foreign substances. This can save equipment from excessive damage and expensive repairs, maximize productivity, and minimize operational downtime.

Thomas A. Caserta, Inc. manufactures quality rubber products for diverse and demanding industries. With more than 50 years of experience, we can design our rubber products to any specification to ensure they are the right fit for your needs. We also utilize the latest equipment that produces high-quality parts at competitive prices and quick turnaround times. Regardless of how big or small your job is, we can meet your needs. Our skilled and dedicated team strives to fulfill our number one goal: customer satisfaction. Contact us to request your custom rubber product quote today!

Rubber Products in the Aerospace Industry

The aerospace and aviation industry is one of the fastest growing industries on a global scale, affecting millions of people on a daily basis.

Reliable aircraft demands top tier components. These parts must have properties of high performance and endurance, since they will be exposed to a range of extreme weather conditions, such as excessively hot or cold temperatures, and different types of oils and gases. It is crucial that jets, commercial planes, and other aircraft can protect both passengers and cargo from the elements.

Many aerospace and aviation components are now being sourced from rubber. Rubber products are becoming more popular due to their durability under extreme environmental conditions and cost-effectiveness.

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Rubber Designed for Flight

Rubber products are an excellent option for flight applications. Synthetic rubbers from various sources can withstand highly aggressive aerospace fluids, including:

  • Engine lubrication oils
  • Jet fuels
  • Hydraulic fluids
  • Oxidizers
  • Rocket propellants

Some of the common materials that engineers utilize for aerospace and aviation applications include:

  • Neoprene. This is a good general purpose elastomer that has many desirable characteristics. It has high resilience with low compression set and boasts moderate oil, ozone, and water resistance. It successfully operates within a temperature range of -65°F to 260°F. However, neoprene is not recommended for certain applications like phosphate esters, ketones, and brake fluids.
  • EPDM. Also known as Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, EPDM contains excellent weatherability properties and low gas permeability. It works within a temperature range of -60°F to 280°F. While it is highly resistant to ozone, water, brake fluids, and other substances, it has a low resistance threshold for petroleum oils and diester lubricants.
  • Silicone. Able to effectively operate in temperatures from -150° to 500°F, silicone boasts the greatest total temperature range of currently used elastomers. While it also has excellent resistance to a number of environmental conditions and outside substances, such as dry heat, brake fluids, and high aniline point oils, it is not an optimal solution for certain applications due to poor tensile strength and tear.

rubber uses in aerospace

Rubber materials have an array of qualities that make them the perfect choice for aerospace and aviation applications. Some characteristics that stand out include:

  • A high endurance threshold under extreme stresses
  • Endurance under extreme temperatures
  • No need for lubrication between parts
  • Very little maintenance required, if any
  • Sound and shock absorption
  • Long life spans

Applications That Demand Rubber Products

Rubber products have become popular across a broad spectrum of industries. In the aerospace and aviation industry, they have delivered superior performance in applications, such as:

  • Thermal insulation
  • Window and door seals
  • HVAC seals and gaskets
  • LED lighting gaskets
  • Vent ducts
  • Vibration dampening
  • Instrument panel seals and engine gaskets
  • O-rings utilized in connectors, valves, and other applications
  • Hydraulic actuators
  • Bleed air valves and fittings
  • Firewall seals
  • T-seals
  • Bumpers
  • Hatch seals and covers
  • Rubber extrusions
  • Extruded tubing and seals
  • Protective boots and bellows

At Thomas A. Caserta, our rubber products are highly customizable according to customer needs and preferences. Our engineers and technical specialists take great pride in designing and supplying safe, robust, and specialized rubber product solutions for a variety of needs.

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Contact the Aerospace Rubber Manufacturing Experts

The team at Thomas A. Caserta works hard to ensure that each part for our customers meets or exceeds all the relevant industry specifications and standards. All our custom rubber aircraft components are manufactured in-house, and our stringent quality control protocols and attention to detail guarantee that each client receives a premium product for their particular need.

If you would like to learn more about our manufacturing capabilities or are interested in partnering with us for your aerospace/aviation product needs, reach out to us today.

How To Design The Right Gasket

Nitrile Vs Neoprene