What is a Cylinder Head gasket? The Cylinder Head gasket is basically a seal, however it is the most integral seal in the engine. This is because it is required to seal the combustion chambers and is situated in between the engine block and the cylinder head. It is also responsible for keeping the oil and coolant passages that run from the engine block to the cylinder head. Because of this the Cylinder Head gasket has to be designed to maintain a seal despite facing the extreme temperature and pressure of combustion. The Cylinder Head gasket is a very important part of any engine as it keeps the combustion forces in the cylinders and the coolant and oil in their channels. Cylinder Head gaskets are therefore integral to the performance, cooling and lubricating of the entire engine. That is why much time and money is being spent on continued research and development of Cylinder Head gasket materials and technology.
Cylinder Head gaskets and Cooling: Cylinder Head gaskets play a vital role in maintaining the engine’s optimal running temperature and is also often one of the initial components effected by the overheating of an engine. As mentioned previously, the Cylinder Head gasket seals the coolant channels between the cylinder head and engine block. The coolant passes through these channels after it has been cooled by the radiator and cools the engine. To ensure that the engine is running at its optimal temperature, the flow of coolant is controlled by a thermostat. If any of these components fail, either the Cylinder Head gasket, radiator or thermostat serious damage can be caused. Overheating can cause the Cylinder Head gasket to fail, causing a loss in compression, the mixing of oil and coolant causing further overheating and a loss of lubrication.
What are Cylinder Head gaskets Made of? Because a Cylinder Head gasket needs to be able to seal combustion, air, coolant and oil at a variety of temperatures the materials that are used in the production of a Cylinder Head gasket, as well as its design, need to be resistant to all of these elements in both chemical make up and temperature. Various engine designs require different Cylinder Head gaskets so as to meet the unique performance specifications of each engine. The materials that are used in the manufacturing of Cylinder Head gaskets are the end result of millions of dollars of engineering and testing of a wide variety of metals, chemicals and composite materials. The testing done is to investigate the qualities of these materials in maintaining the seal required by Cylinder Head gaskets and there durability under the extreme temperatures and chemicals found in an engine.
The result of the testing has shown a wide variety of materials that can be used in Cylinder Head gasket manufacturing. Steels such as stainless steel are commonly used in gaskets as are fiber and graphite based composite materials in a variety of densities. More recently chemical compositions such as silicone, neoprene, polymetric resins and other chemical compounds have been found to provide resistance and durability when used in the construction of Cylinder Head gaskets.