Cork gaskets are manufactured with the cork that is stripped off of cork oak trees. Every 9-12 years the bark of oak trees can be harvested. This extraction process does not harm the tree, which is why cork is a great environmentally-friendly gasketing material. The bark grows again and the whole process starts all over again. Europe is one of the main places you will find cork trees, with other major producers being Portugal, France, Italy and Spain.
The Basics of Cork Gaskets:
The idea behind most gaskets is to have a seal in between 2 parts of any engine motor or other unit. Traditionally, the cork gasket provides this seal in engines in a unique way. The engines have oil inside of them, and when the oil comes up against the cork gasket, it assists in providing the seal. At first, when changing a cork gasket, the oil comes through the seal a bit just until it finalises the sealing. The oil itself actually helps to finish off the sealing process when it’s absorbed by the cork. The oil will cause the cork to stretch and create the perfect seal.
Cork and Rubber Gaskets:
The newer cork gaskets often have rubber incorporated into them, and this has been a major improvement for the industry, although 100% synthetic rubber should still be the number one choice for many engines and jobs. The cork and rubber gasket can include a variety of different rubber compositions. These gaskets eliminate the issues associated with using a pure cork gasket. Cork and rubber gaskets make great seals in oil and Transformer applications just to name 2.
If you ever need to replace your cork gasket, not to worry, it is fairly simple. You will need to unscrew the clips which hold it on and remove the old one. Then you will need to clip the new one down, when using this technique it is important to keep in mind that you should not stretch the gasket out in the process of putting it on. Unfortunately, this will ruin the gasket and you will have to replace it again. If your cork gasket is bolted into its place, you need to crisscross bolts as you tighten your flange. By doing this, you are ensuring that equal pressure gets applied around the flange. Make sure that you do not over tighten the bolts, if you do, the gasket will creep or crush and this will result in leaks.
At D & D Valve & Engineering Supplies we specialise in the supply of gaskets, flanges, valves and much more. Visit our website on www.ddvalve.co.za for more information on our products and services.