What is the difference between asbestos and non-asbestos gaskets?

Compressed Non-Asbestos Gaskets,rubber gasket
Compressed Non-Asbestos Gaskets
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PTFE Packing – Braided Teflon Packing
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What is the difference between asbestos and non-asbestos gaskets?

What is the difference between asbestos and non-asbestos gaskets

What is the difference between asbestos and non-asbestos gaskets

Asbestos is a mineral that occurs abundantly all around the world. For most of the 20th century, American manufacturers took advantage of its uniquely fibrous yet durable nature by mixing it into many building materials and even weaving it into rope and cloth.

Today, asbestos is banned or heavily regulated in much of the developed world because of its toxicity, but not long ago it was the primary ingredient in a variety of products — including gaskets.

Gaskets prevent pipes and machinery from leaking by sealing the tight spaces in between metal parts, making them essential components of the industrialized world. Modern gasket manufacturers now use a number of heat-resistant substitutes for asbestos, but workers still commonly encounter the toxic mineral when taking apart old engines or industrial machinery.

Non-Asbestos Fibre materials are so-called because they fill the gap in the range of gasket materials previously occupied by asbestos. Asbestos, although now known to be a dangerous material, had excellent heat resistance properties, which is why it was utilised so widely in high temperature applications. When asbestos was outlawed, replacement materials were needed; and so these asbestos-free, or non-asbestos, materials were developed to perform the same function, but without the corresponding danger to human health.

These materials are now commonly comprised of aramid fibre (Kevlar) and non-organic fibres, which are in turn blended with different polymers to meet different applications: most commonly nitrile rubber, for fuel and oil resistance. These materials can also be graphite coated for non-stick and steam resistance, mixed with PTFE for excellent chemical resistance, or with EPDM for potable water applications.

Non-Asbestos Fibre materials are so-called because they fill the gap in the range of gasket materials previously occupied by asbestos. Asbestos, although now known to be a dangerous material, had excellent heat resistance properties, which is why it was utilised so widely in high temperature applications. When asbestos was outlawed, replacement materials were needed; and so these asbestos-free, or non-asbestos, materials were developed to perform the same function, but without the corresponding danger to human health.

Common types of asbestos gaskets include:

Asbestos rope gaskets: Soft rope woven from white asbestos fibers could be made into a fireproof gasket of almost any size and shape, offering a flexible solution for sealing the doors of boilers, furnaces and ovens. The loose binding of the mineral fibers, however, makes the associated exposure risk particularly severe.

Asbestos oval gaskets: This type of gasket combines soft asbestos material with a wire insert that gives it shape and extra strength.

Asbestos spiral wound gaskets: This sophisticated type of gasket is made from concentric layers of metal and asbestos. This product’s design is extremely strong, but it still leaves nearly pure asbestos fibers exposed to the open air.

Asbestos sheet gaskets or sheet packing: To mass produce asbestos gaskets for standardized parts, manufacturers pressed asbestos and other fibers into a firm, cardboard-like sheet, which gaskets of the necessary shape could then be punched out of. Many installation workers also manually cut sheet packing to size for individual parts.

Non-asbestos materials generally have very good heat resistant properties. They are also good for use in applications that put them into contact with water, petrol, or natural gas.

As such, non-asbestos materials are used in air compressors, diesel engines, pipelines, and many other general industrial and marine environments.

Non-Asbestos gasket Product Specification

Supplier = RAM Gasket Solutions
Condition = New
Thicknesses Available = 0.4mm, 0.5mm, 0.8mm, 1mm, 1.5mm, 2mm, 3mm, 4mm, 6.4mm
Sheet Size Available = 1.5M x 2M sheets
Product Technical Details

As a general rule, non-asbestos materials are:

Excellent Heat and Pressure
Chemical Resistant
Good for use with water
Good for use with petrol
Have good resistance to natural gases
Non-stick

One gasket type contains asbestos as a reinforcing fiber while the other does not. As a reinforcing fiber, asbestos is strong, can withstand high temperatures and chemical attack, and is relatively cheap compared to many other materials. The physical properties that make asbestos an excellent gasket fiber also make it a hazardous substance to work with.

Asbestos fibers are long, thin and extremely small. Exposed fibers easily shred into thin needle-like strands that can drift in the air and be inhaled. The fibers lodge deep in the lungs where their sharp needle-like presence becomes a source of constant irritation. Over time, the accumulation of asbestos fibers can lead to a variety of lung ailments, including cancer.

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