Expandable gasket, sealed joint and method of forming same
An improved expandable gasket, sealed joint and method of forming a sealed joint which includes a gasket having at least 5% by weight unexpanded or unexfoliated graphite. The graphite material is preferably a mixture of expanded and unexpanded graphite compressed in a sheet or other shape affixed to a metal plate. The preferred composition is 5 to 70% by weight of unexpanded graphite and 30 to 95% expanded graphite, wherein the percentage of unexpanded graphite is controlled to provide the desired gasket expansion. A more preferred composition includes at least 10% by weight unexfoliated graphite or more preferably 15 to 50% by weight. The gasket is placed between the surfaces to be sealed and clamped in place. When the joint is heated, the unexpanded graphite exfoliates, causing the gasket to swell or expand, tightly sealing the joint. The expandable gasket of this invention is particularly suitable for automotive application, including head and exhaust gaskets which are subject to temperatures exceeding about 400.degree. C.
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1. A heat expandable graphite gasket for sealing a joint subject to fluid pressure and heat, said gasket comprising:
- a compressed mixture of expanded and unexpanded graphite containing at least 5% by weight unexpanded graphite flakes and said mixture compressed in the form of a gasket and said gasket expandable under pressure when heated to the exfoliation temperature of said unexpanded graphite flakes.
7. The heat expandable graphite gasket defined in claim 6, characterized in that said graphite gasket is affixed to a metal plate.
11. The heat expandable graphite gasket defined in claim 6, wherein said graphite is affixed to a metal plate, said metal plate including a plurality of integral tangs struck from said plate and extending from the plane of said plate, said tangs extending into said graphite gasket, affixing said graphite gasket to said metal plate and providing columnar support for said gasket.
12. A joint subject to fluid pressure and heat, said joint including opposed surfaces to be sealed and a heat expandable graphite gasket located between said surfaces, said gasket comprising a compressed shape of generally fibrous material including at least 10% by weight unexpanded graphite, and said gasket clamped between said opposed surfaces, said unexpanded graphite exfoliating upon heating of said gasket above the exfoliating temperature of said expandable graphite, sealing said joint.
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International Classification: F16J 900; F16J 1510; F16L 1700;