Evaluation of the sealing performance of pipe flange connection is significantly important for the safety of pipe line structures. The compression characteristics of sheet gaskets primarily affect the mechanical behavior of flanged connections. It is known that the stiffness of sheet gaskets decreases with an increase in temperature. Therefore, the compression test must be conducted at various levels of elevated temperatures. From the experimental point of view, however, a great difficulty is involved in measuring the compression characteristics of gaskets at elevated temperature. For this reason, a definite testing procedure has not yet been established. In this paper, a prototype of compression test equipment has been developed for measuring the stress-strain curves of sheet gaskets at elevated temperature. The test equipment is compact and the experiments can be conducted with a fairly easy operation. It can control the gasket stress from zero to 30MPa while keeping the temperature of test specimen at different levels from room temperature to 300° C and higher. Aramid sheet gaskets are selected as test specimens. Experimental results show that the gasket stiffness drops with an increase in temperature. The shapes of the compression curves at different temperatures are similar, and those curves move in the direction of lower stiffness as the temperature is increased. It is concluded that the test equipment proposed here has a high promise to measure the stress-strain curves of sheet gaskets and estimate the sealing performance of pipe flange connections at elevated temperature.

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