Differential thermal expansion between polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) gasket materials and metallic flange/bolt systems, combined with thermally influenced creep relaxation characteristics of all PTFEs, creates limitations in the ability of some PTFE gasket materials to provide long term, reliable sealing performance in process or thermal cycling applications. ASTM F-36 gasket recovery data is sometimes used to assess a gasket’s thermal cycling capabilities; however, it is a poor means of establishing suitability for cycling performance as it is a short duration, ambient temperature test that measures recovery, or springback, of the gasket after the compressive load has been completely released. In order to provide a direct qualification of thermal cycling performance and capabilities, the Hot Blowout Thermal Cycling (HOBTC) test was developed under the guidance of the PVRC (Pressure Vessel Research Council)Bolted Flange Connection Committee as part of the 1995 PTFE Gasket Protocol. The HOBTC test results provide a practically applicable temperature limit under which the tested material, typically a PTFE, can operate safely. In addition, test data reported graphically provide additional insight about the long term behavior of the PTFE material. This paper reviews the current status of the HOBTC test, in the process of being made into an ASTM standard, and practical application of test results to achieve reliable gasket performance.

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