The ability of a gasket to create and retain a seal can be determined by many factors, such as bolt load, flange surface condition, media, pressure, temperature, and operating conditions. A factor that is often overlooked, however, is the shelf life of the gasket. Often, gaskets can remain in storage for some time before being installed and, depending upon the length of storage, sealing performance can be affected.
Many products have manufacturer recommended storage lives, and gaskets are no exception. Most gasket manufacturers recommend their products to be stored in cool, dry locations, well away from sources of heat, excessive humidity, sunlight, and chemicals – all factors that can contribute to the degradation of gasket materials.
Depending upon the manufacturer, recommended storage conditions for most gaskets are over a range of ambient temperature from 4°C to 27°C, with a relative humidity between 40 percent and 75 percent. Storage locations should be dark, with no windows which could permit direct sunlight or UV light to affect the product.
A factor that is often overlooked is controlling the relative humidity in the storage location – many locations used to store gaskets lack a means of keeping the relative humidity within the desired range. High humidity may cause the components of a metallic gasket to oxidize, as well as reduce the bonding strength of adhesives.
Gaskets should be stored well away from chemicals or other compounds which could adversely affect and degrade their material. Surprisingly, one often sees gaskets stored in close proximity to MRO chemicals and compounds – should these spill or deposit on a gasket, the sealing performance may be significantly degraded.
Similarly, gaskets should preferably be stored flat in locations which are relatively dust free. Dust from other chemicals or compounds stored in the vicinity can settle on to a gasket and cause compatibility issues with the media to be sealed. If cut gaskets are stored vertically on a pegboard for any length of time, they may stretch or become distorted in shape.
Gasket materials can remain in storage for months, and sometimes even years, before they are used. Some types of gaskets, such as metallic, semi-metallic, PTFE, and graphite, are relatively immune to storage time, and may be kept on the shelf for long periods of time. Other gasket materials are more sensitive to storage length, and need their shelf life monitored more closely.
Gaskets which incorporate fibrous, filler, or binder components in their construction are more susceptible to deterioration in storage. As these gaskets age, these components undergo irreversible chemical processes which causes degradation. For this reason, many gasket manufacturers suggest a shelf life of between 2 to 5 years for elastomer bonded fibre materials.
Managing your gasket storage conditions and shelf life will help you to get the most out of your gaskets and ensure top sealing performance every time. At CRG, we are always available to advise on your gasket needs and provide helpful guidance on storage and handling. We have over 25 years of experience in supplying gaskets to companies large and small in a variety of industries. To find out more about how CRG can meet your gasket supply needs, please contact our sales department at email@example.com.
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