The material of the gasket affects its performance, so choosing the right gasket material is important to the sealing performance of your engine. Moreover, it can ensure the operation of the engine in high temperature environment. Additionally, the right gasket material can prevent leakage issues in your engine. This article shares some practical tips for choosing gasket materials.

engine gaskets

What is an engine gasket?

Engine gaskets provide sealing for engine components and are typically located between two adjacent metal surfaces, such as the engine block and engine head. Usually, it is used to prevent pressure, corrosion, and natural expansion and contraction of pipelines from leaking between two objects.

How do gaskets work?

When a gasket is installed between two metal surfaces, it is subject to changes in temperature and pressure as the engine component moves. When the engine heats up, due to the effects of high temperature and thermal expansion, the engine components expand and the gap between the two metal surfaces becomes smaller. At this time, the gasket will be compressed, filling and tightly sealing the gap, which can prevent fluid leakage.

As the engine cools down, the metal components contract, resulting in an increased gap between the surfaces they connect. In this situation, the gasket’s elasticity becomes crucial as it can adjust to the contraction of the engine components and maintain an effective seal. The gasket material possesses inherent elasticity, allowing it to withstand compression forces and deformations, ensuring a consistent and reliable seal even when the engine components move or when there are temperature variations.

Engine gasket type

The type and design of engine gaskets depends on the specific engine construction and application. Common engine gasket types:

  • Gasket (used to seal between engine head and cylinder)
  • Crankcase gasket (used to seal between the engine crankcase and cylinder block)
  • Intake/Exhaust Gaskets (for sealing of intake and exhaust systems)
  • etc

gaskets and washers

What is the difference between a gasket and a washer?

  • The purpose of the gasket is to prevent leakage.
  • A washer is usually a hole in a round thin plate. It is a part that is padded between the connector and the nut. It is usually a flat metal ring. Other uses are as spacers, springs (Belleville washers, wave washers), wear pads, pre-display devices, locking devices.

Tips to choose the gasket material for the engine

Practical tips

Engine working environment and applications

Gasket materials are determined based on factors such as pressure, temperature, properties of the liquid or gas, and chemical environment. Different engine components and sealing locations may have specific requirements for gasket materials.

For example, seals between engine heads and cylinder blocks often use metal gaskets or asbestos cardboard, while gaskets for intake and exhaust systems may need to be resistant to high temperatures and chemicals.

High temperature and chemical resistance

The gasket material needs to be resistant to high temperatures to prevent thermal deformation or failure caused by high temperatures during engine operation. Common high temperature resistant materials include metal gaskets, asbestos cardboard and ceramic gaskets.

Engines deal with many chemicals, such as coolants, lubricants, and fuels, so gasket materials need to be chemically resistant. For example, fluoroelastomer materials are excellent at resisting chemical attack.

Elasticity and compression properties

Gaskets need to withstand pressure and deformation after installation to fill and tightly seal the gaps between metal surfaces. Gasket material with good elasticity and compression properties ensures an effective seal that remains consistent and reliable even when engine parts move or temperatures change.

Engine gasket material

Because engine seals need to withstand harsh working conditions such as large temperature differences, high pressure and chemical corrosion. Sealing materials often used on engines include: asbestos cardboard, cork cardboard and felt, rubber rubber rings (O-rings) and rubber pads, as well as high-density and ordinary cardboard.

Asbestos cardboard

Asbestos cardboard, which combines asbestos fibers with other fillers and binders, exhibits good resistance to high temperatures and chemical corrosion. It finds frequent use in sealing engine cylinder heads, crankcases, and other high-temperature components. No matter what kind of asbestos cardboard has good stability, that is, its performance does not change much after long-term use.

Cork cardboard and felt

Cork cardboard, composed of cork particles and adhesives, offers elasticity and temperature resistance. It can expand and soften when exposed to liquid at specific temperatures, effectively compensating for sealing requirements. However, it is not suitable for high-temperature applications. Cork cardboard and felt are commonly utilized to seal engine components like cylinder heads and intake manifolds.

Rubber sheets, rubber rings and rubber pads

Rubber rubber rings, also known as O-rings, are made of elastic materials (such as rubber). Oil-resistant and non-oil-resistant variants exhibit excellent elasticity and sealing properties. Manufacturers commonly use them for static or dynamic sealing in engine oil seals, hydraulic systems, and fuel systems, ensuring effective seals even under low applied pressure.

High density and regular cardboard

High-density and ordinary paperboards made of cellulose pulp have certain sealing properties and temperature resistance. High-density cardboard is sometimes an alternative to asbestos cardboard. They are used in low to medium temperature and pressure environments, such as engine water seals and sealing of certain pipe connections.

It is wise to choose the right material for engine gaskets according to the material’s features and applications.

engine gaskets


High-performance gaskets can protect engines, prevent gas and liquid leakage, and ensure driving safety. Firstly, the selection of sealing gasket material should consider the gasket’s application location and the fluid to be sealed. Secondly, different engine locations and fluids should use appropriate materials. Finally, hope the above tips are helpful to you when purchasing a gasket. Any interests, look up excellent engine gaskets at FridayParts.