A recent article in the Detroit Free Press highlighted a leak of sulphuric acid from a holding tank at the Cook Nuclear Plant in Bridgman, southwest of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The leak was apparently caused by a faulty gasket on the holding tank’s discharge valve.

The article highlights a key application challenge: achieving reliable sealing with gaskets for strong acid service, including acids like sulphuric acid.

Strong acids, such as sulphuric acid, are extremely corrosive and, unless the gasket material is chosen wisely, the risk of gasket failure with resulting leakage can be high. An important factor to consider in any strong acid service application is the concentration of the acid being serviced, as well as the temperature of the media. For example, applications involving sulphuric acid at concentrations of 96 percent and above can be extremely challenging, and the challenge is exacerbated when hot acid is involved.

Gasket Materials for Strong Acid Service

Materials that should be considered when selecting gaskets for strong acid service include the following:

No matter the material choice, a good rule to follow for strong acid service is to limit all gaskets used to single use. Reusing gaskets to save a few pennies here and there is inadvisable due to the risks of failure and serious injury to personnel. In strong acid applications, all used gaskets should be destroyed immediately after use to prevent any inadvertent reuse.

CRG can supply gaskets produced from Viton®, PTFE, or other materials especially designed to handle strong acid service. If you have a strong acid application, our sales team will be pleased to review your needs and discuss the material options available. Contact our sales team directly at crg@canadarubbergroup.com.

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