The ABAQUS gasket elements are an efficient and flexible tool to study gasket applications. Nevertheless their usage is not limited to gasket analysis, but it provides an effective improvement in structural analysis. The results point out that both the predicted contact pressure and the predicted stress distribution depend on the mesh topology. Several combinations of mesh dimension and topology are investigated. The purpose is the definition of a calculation methodology and the demonstration of the application efficiency. Complex models analysis highlights that the defined methodology represents an effective tool for the design and the optimisation of the head gasket, the cylinder head and the engine block. The methodology is then applied to an actual case. A layout modification to prevent a sealing issue is validated by the FEM analysis. The modification was introduced in the actual component. The qualitative and quantitative evidences provided by the calculation were confirmed by the experimental results obtained by colour films (not running engine with assembly loads at room temperature) and by the test bench (actual working conditions).

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