Automotive industry

Gaskets: different types and their contribution to the automotive industry

What I want to show is how a simple joint changes everything and what quality-obsessed companies do with simple hardware to make it timeless.

Aquavivarium BHPian recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I have been reading this portal for 4 years and recently joined. I guess the central thought behind this group is the sharing of original, unbiased and unique ideas. Each of us is special and thinks differently.

We’ve all had experiences and our own learning curves. Being in different parts of the globe, having different backgrounds and social positions adds new dimensions to conversations. Regardless of such a dynamic mix, we all have one thing in common – love and commitment to our wheelset, be it cars, bikes, etc.

Since humans invented the means of assisted mobility, the world has changed faster than humans could imagine, the wheel is the number one invention. From experimental to novelty and then to mass production. A metal or wooden crate with initially 3 then 4 wheels, propulsion and control surpassed any other type of transport. This was for the simple reason of STABILITY, this design required no balancing, was easy to maneuver, could be modified easily to suit utility, and provided a comfortable ride.

No wonder this design was chosen to be pulled by pets, we had designs with two wheels but the instability is evident:

The patent for the first “Benz” car was filed in 1886, when a few daring people thought to replace horsepower with horsepower. Yet these were limited to experimental models OR a very small elite.

“Necessity is the mother of invention” proved true when World War I led to the development of large-scale piston engines. Carbon-based fuel engines entered the mainstream, massive industries were created, the piston engine proved its power and became the backbone of power supply and transportation. Although the driving force was war, a few began to imagine and develop the idea of ​​personal transportation using similar engines for the masses.

At the end of the First World War we saw the emergence of ‘Car’, it was a fun machine for a lucky few, was mostly handmade and assembled with an emphasis on one thing: quality . The customers were now the bourgeoisie, the rising class and then we had the second war. The piston engine being well established, it was now the turn of the Jet propulsion. After WW2, the car was already a common sight and manufacturers were already aiming for mass production. Now quality was front and center but not the top priority, a few remained committed and to this day give us products that ‘feel’ different and ‘age’ differently.

Remove all marks from a 10-15 year old Lexus OR Maybach and compare to an average family car of the same type and age, what keeps a good quality machine running and running, the answer lies deep inside in a simple bolt and nut “cut out”. And this is precisely my subject and I intend to explain “Quality” by the most basic and innate characteristic of any machine. From the simplest cycle to the Large Hadron Collider, everything we make and assemble has a “joint”.

The difference between a Rolls and a Maruti is very obvious. Actually, it’s silly to compare, but both serve the same purpose. Suppose we take all the main parts of a Rolls, for example – the chassis, engine, upholstery and everything we see in a Rolls, and put them together in a Maruti factory, will we get a Rolls?

Please note that I have no intention of downgrading Maruti, I have purchased their cars and still appreciate their suitability for the Indian ecosystem. What I want to show is how a simple joint changes everything and what quality-obsessed companies do with simple hardware to make it timeless. I mostly took the photos myself, they are not technically accurate and still convey the underlying message.

Now let’s start with the example:

Our joint will consist of two metal parts joined by a bolt and a nut. We will keep improving the same and give reasons beside:

Basic: As shown, we joined two metal parts by bolt and nut, they can withstand all tension and shear loads, the torque is fully tightened by hand tool, it is quite a joint robust. We see this happen in most repair shops.

Calibrated torque (using a torque wrench): Anyone with basic mechanical knowledge knows the importance of correct torque, it depends on bolt/nut size, thread type, material etc. It is a measure of how hard the threads of both will engage OR the amount of friction lock. Less torque will loosen and more will create excessive stress on the joint and could lead to material failure. Torque values ​​for nut and bolt are different and should be kept in mind. In high temperature. To prevent nut jamming, a “neverseez” compound is also used on the bolt threads.

Lock nut: All joints are subject to vibration and/or thermal cycling, over a period of time the nut is bound to loosen and the results can be catastrophic, and various ways are used to lock. As shown, we can use two nuts, a lock nut, or a cotter pin in the hollow shank of the bolt which keeps the nut from unscrewing. The bolt head may also have a provision for thread locking. Lock wiring is a skill that takes time and willpower to learn.

I myself have experienced bloody fingers and a lot of resentment, but finishing an intricate lock wiring job gives satisfaction like a work of art. In aviation, the wire lock is a very common lock.

Chamfered/beveled edge: Load paths in materials tend to build up at sharp corners, so edges are rounded for greater contact area to prevent edge cracking. As shown above, the edges are now cupped, which avoids sharp edges.

Washers/Bushings: They serve two purposes; Distribute the load over a larger area, thus avoiding damage to the leaves and they are made of a softer material, so they wear out protecting the main material. The washers can also be of the lock type.

Surface Protection: Metal corrodes or oxidizes to weaken and fail slowly, especially in high temperature, acidic, and abrasive environments. Corrosion of dissimilar metals also occurs at joints. So electroplating, primer, painting, enamel coating are done on the material and the sheet to make it durable.

Joint sealing: to make the seal lifelong Or in places with extreme surroundings like fuel tank, bridges, under the ocean, etc. The full joint is made invisible by completely covering it with sealants like silicone etc.

So we see the evolution, maybe not technically perfect, but the message is loud and clear: the quality and character of a machine is more integrated than visible, what it gives is the feel, the handling, the running dynamics and graceful aging than the bling bling we experience. High-quality products are so because their creators do different things AND do different things. It’s the culture of zero compromise with continuous improvement and attention to detail that these manufacturers strive for, whether it’s an engine mount or an upholstery clip, they know that it’s just not the quality material but how it connects to others that affects the final product.

The perfect execution of a sharp turn on a long winding road is the heroine of motorists. In times like these no one is staring at a 10 inch screen or hearing BOSE sound, at that time your vehicle is your song and a well-designed machine will give you that pleasure for a lifetime.

The decision to buy a car has biases, we see Koreans attracting customers by increasing the size of the touch screen, putting on fancy white lights and adding chrome. Very well designed products like the Compass are not people’s favourites, Fiat Palio was a hot hatch that still had an early demise. My suggestion to people before buying is to read the long term reviews and if the Germans are asking a premium price it’s not for what you see but what’s inside until each nut and bolt.

I am an engineer and work on commercial aircraft like the Boeing 737 and the Airbus 320. I have visited factories where they are built and assembled. Will publish soon on commercial aviation.

Check out BHPian’s comments for more ideas and information.