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Why Flexible Graphite’s Consistent Quality Is Ideal for Seals, Packings & Gaskets

Why Flexible Graphite’s Consistent Quality Is Ideal for Seals, Packings & Gaskets

By Bob Rutherford

[Linked article from FSA publication site]

Many associations, societies and regulatory agencies have rewritten and redeveloped emissions and leakage standards and controls year after year. The partial list of organizations—based on voluntary consensus, regulation or legislation—includes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), American Petroleum Institute (API), International Standards Organization (ISO), Manufacturers Standardization Society (MSS) and TA Luft. When the process rules are changed, manufacturers of seals, packing and gaskets are forced to implement changes as well. The manufacturers either produce seals that are better suited to handle the new regulations or they drop out of the market. These changes affect the way end users must look at the quality of flexible graphite and its ability to seal.

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Flexible Graphite Electrical Resistance Decreases Under Compression

According to a study by Xiangcheng Luo, D.D.L. Chung of SUNY at Buffalo, Flexible graphite (a gasket material) under repeated compression was studied by real-time measurement of the electrical
resistance perpendicular to the flexible graphite sheet, which was sandwiched by copper. The resistance decreased reversibly
upon compression perpendicular to the sheet, due mainly to the reversible conformability of flexible graphite and the
consequent reversible decrease of the contact resistivity between flexible graphite and copper. Two cycles of compression
largely eliminated the irreversible resistance and strain changes. A low stress amplitude (,4 MPa) and a low strain
amplitude (,25%) were necessary in order to minimize irreversible deformation of the flexible graphite itself.