With innovative products consistently hitting store shelves, manufacturing is constantly evolving to accommodate the highest of demands. In today’s production world, finding the appropriate manufacturing materials can be tough — especially when breaking new ground.
Many manufacturers are finding they struggle with overcoming challenges of sealing at high temperatures. Engineering has come a long way, and there are many ways to overcome some of the challenges. Many of those options lay in the products themselves. Let’s explore the different types of high-heat seals available and what they could potentially do for you.
Fluorocarbon o-rings are an excellent choice if you’re looking for a long-term, dependable seal. With its outstanding chemical resistance, fluorocarbon compounds are some of the most ideal products on the market. They stand a range of temperatures from below zero (-13oF) to nearly 450 degrees (446oF). Further, Fluorocarbon maintains fantastic chemical resistance while maintaining the high chemical range.
PTFE is designed to stand up to the harshest environments, high temps and high pressure. It can withstand chemicals and pressure up to 390oF, and many of the PTFE compounds are approved by the FDA.
Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) is an organic thermoplastic polymer. Similar to fluorocarbon, PEEK is designed to withstand some of the harshest chemicals without degradation — event at high 400oF temperatures. Unlike some other polymer options, PEEK can be heated, cooled and heated again with integrity because they are composed of thermoplastic materials.
Fluorosilicone and Silicone
Silicone is a favorite polymer for many different types of projects due to its high-heat resistance. However, fluorosilicone, like materials previously discussed, can maintain its stability even at high temperatures and chemical exposure. One of the key differences between fluorosilicone and silicone is that the former costs nearly five times that of the latter. If cost is a factor in your decision, you’ll want to weigh this one carefully.
There are a couple of other materials out there that are worth discussing that have their own positives and drawbacks.
Gaskets made from mica are specifically suited for high temperature applications and can be used with temperatures up to 1,650oF in the correct situation. Unfortunately, mica as a material does not offer the same benefits as the previously discussed materials. While new innovation takes pressure and chemical resistance into an account, mica does not offer any of those features. However, it is a more cost-effective material compared to other options out there.
Graphite may be one of the most useful materials when considering metal as a sealant option. It has a long potential storage life of 10 years if it is carefully taken care of. However, because high temperatures tend to challenge graphite, causing it to fail over time, it cannot be used as a reliable material. Frequently, graphite can result in a joint failure and allow a leak to occur. A leak of the wrong material could interrupt your production for days.
Simplify High-Heat Seals With the Correct Material
In today’s world of ever-increasing demand, having subpar manufacturing and engineering materials just isn’t going to cut it. Being interrupted because of a failure point isn’t just a matter of time, but it will slow revenue as well. Taking time to investigate and then invest in a quality material that will stand up to the chemicals you use and the heat applied will result in an immediate pay off.