Often underappreciated but vital to thousands of machines and household appliances, rubber gaskets help make our everyday life possible. They seal our refrigerator doors to keep food fresh; they keep ammunition protected from moisture; they help build bridges. What is a rubber gasket and how is it used in all of these applications? Well, it is a mechanical seal that is used primarily to prevent leaks of gas or liquid, but can be used as a barrier between two objects, such as two metals or chemicals. They are often utilized as protection from outside elements as well. In a camera lens, they combat moisture and dust to ensure that the lens stays focused and speck free. Used in almost every industry, this fabricated rubber product is versatile and necessary for thousands of applications. There are rarely two applications that use the same shape or size gasket. Gaskets are made specific to each use and this makes this industry very unique!
To best suit the needs of different uses, a rubber gasket must be cut or shaped into required sizes using varying sheets of rubber. (In this article we are discussing gaskets that are flat! Products like O-Rings, 3-dimiensional parts, and profiles are not covered here.) Engineers design equipment that having moving parts and need rubber parts to protect them. The designer or engineer choses a sheet rubber product that will suit the needs of the application and that will withstand the conditions the rubber is exposed to. Criteria like media temperature, rubber hardness, tensile strength, and percentage of compound are some of the concerns when choosing rubber gasket materials. The drawing and the material specs are then sent to gasket cutting. Engineer who designs a part must understand the needs of the equipment and the capabilities of the elastomers and them match the two together.