It’s highly likely that, at some point or another, you have seen braided packing in or out of its “natural environment”. Braided packing looks like rope and is cut into rings that wrap around a rod. While braided packing used to be available in fairly limited styles, the mechanical packing industry has expanded over time, resulting in braided packing that is available in everything from flexible graphite to fiberglass yarn. Let’s dive into this topic, and discuss the different materials from which braided packing is made in this day and age.
One of the reasons why fiberglass ropes are favored for braided is that it does not burn. It can be used in continuous temperatures, up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it perfect for products that are going to exist in high pressure, high-temperature environments. Furthermore, E glass in particular consists of more than 50% SiO2. SiO2, as well as B2O3, are prominent network formers, further emphasizing the usefulness of this product.
Flexible graphite is another product used for braided packing, in part because it is made up of 95% to 99% carbon. It is the softest material, and has a score of 1 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, but can resist high temperatures, and has high levels of chemical resistance. While some favor fiberglass rope over flexible graphite, it remains a classic material associated with braided packing.
Ceramic Fiber Cloth
Returning to a product known for its ability to withstand high temperatures, we turn to ceramic fiber cloth. This particular material is known to withstand temperatures up to 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit — making it even more durable than fiberglass rope. The strength of this particular product means that it shouldn’t be discounted, even when compared to flexible graphite and fiberglass rope.
Ultimately, the types of materials used for braided packing can depend on exactly what the braided packing will be used for, as well as the costs associated with the order and the long-term needs of the buyer. However, when choosing a material, one will not receive poor results when relying upon the materials like fiberglass rope, flexible graphite, and ceramic fiber cloth. There is a reason why these materials have long been valued in the braided packing industry.