What Are the Differences Between Gaskets and Seals

When dealing with fluid applications, leaking is something that always should be avoided for the safety of assemblies as well as the performance of the device itself. As gaskets and seals both provide the ability to prevent leaking, it can sometimes be difficult to discern which is the best fit for a particular application. While seals and gaskets both have similar functionalities, it is important to understand their differences to ensure that the right kind of component is chosen.

In their most basic form, a gasket is a type of mechanical seal that is placed between two or more mating surfaces in order to fill up a gap. In order for a gasket to provide leak protection, it is compressed between the mating surfaces to rid them of any irregular shapes. Elastomeric and rubber gaskets are some of the primary gasket types, and they may be manufactured from nitrile, neoprene, viton, EPDM butyl, and other common materials. Gasket strip cork, non-asbestos, graphite, and other materials are also common for the production of gaskets. Often used in oil and gas piping, aircraft, agricultural equipment, and many other applications, gaskets can come in many forms to suit a variety of needs. For the replacement of a gasket, such components should be traded out any time the assembly is disassembled and serviced.

Seals are broader in their definition and are commonly used in applications that are not static, including being placed between engine parts, shafts, pumps, and other rotating assemblies. While gaskets are regularly cut and shaped to fit a specific application, seals are often flat and round and are either a molded or machined product. For their construction, seals will often feature a metallic outer ring that is placed around a rubber center. By tilting the inner part of the seal, a lip is created and ensures that any drops of fluid cannot escape if they are able to pass the first barrier. Due to the way that many seals are designed, they are often only installable in one orientation to ensure that excessive leaking does not result.

As seals are a more general category of parts, they can come in a wide variety of types such as adapter seal, oil seal, ring seal, diaphragm seal, heat seal, dry gas seal, and bonded seal types. Seals can also be produced from many materials as well, and common materials include nitrile, silicone, neoprene, polyurethane, EPDM, thermoplastic rubbers, and more. Whenever a seal breaks or becomes damaged, it is important to note that the entire assembly may need to be taken apart for the removal of the component.

With the various types and characteristics of both gaskets and seals, the choice between the two will often fall upon the assembly such components will be used for. Gaskets are most optimal for creating a seal at the connection point of components or flanges that provide a flat mating surface. Seals, meanwhile, are more efficient for rotary applications as they are installed between pumps, shafts, engine parts, and other such assemblies.

For seals and gasket products that you can steadily rely on, look no further than ASAP Axis. ASAP Axis is a leading distributor of all types of aviation tools required for aircraft maintenance, offering competitive pricing on our expansive inventory of new, used, and obsolete items. Due to our dedication in upholding strict quality control and export compliance standards, we proudly operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certification and accreditation. Get started on the purchasing process today when you submit a completed RFQ form and a team member will reach out to you in 15 minutes or less to provide a personalized quote based on your individual needs.


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