What is a Flange face?
Different types of flange faces are used as the contact surfaces to seat the sealing gasket material. ASME B16.5 and B16.47 define various types of flange facings, including the raised face, the large male and female facings which have identical dimensions to provide a relatively large contact area.
Other flange facings covered by these standards include the large and small tongue-and-groove facings, and the ring joint facing specifically for ring joint type metal gaskets.
Raised Face (RF)
The Raised Face flange is the most common type used in process plant applications, and is easily to identify. It is referred to as a raised face because the gasket surfaces are raised above the bolting circle face. This face type allows the use of a wide combination of gasket designs, including flat ring sheet types and metallic composites such as spiral wound and double jacketed types.
The purpose of a RF flange is to concentrate more pressure on a smaller gasket area and thereby increase the pressure containment capability of the joint. Diameter and height are in ASME B16.5 defined, by pressure class and diameter. Pressure rating of the flange determines the height of the raised face.
The typical flange face finish for ASME B16.5 RF flanges is 125 to 250 µin Ra (3 to 6 µm Ra).
Raised Face height
For the height measures H and B of all described dimensions of flanges on this website, with exception of the Lap Joint flange, it is important to understand and remember the following:
In pressure classes 150 and 300, the height of raised face is approximately 1.6 mm (1/16 inch). In these two pressure classes, almost all suppliers of flanges, show in their catalog or brochure, the H and B dimensions including the raised face height. ((Fig. 1))
In pressure classes 400, 600, 900, 1500 and 2500, the height of raised face is approximately 6.4 mm (1/4 inch). In these pressure classes, most suppliers show the H and B dimensions excluding the raised face height. (Fig. 2)
Flat Face (FF)
The Flat Face flange has a gasket surface in the same plane as the bolting circle face. Applications using flat face flanges are frequently those in which the mating flange or flanged fitting is made from a casting.
Flat face flanges are never to be bolted to a raised face flange. ASME B31.1 says that when connecting flat face cast iron flanges to carbon steel flanges, the raised face on the carbon steel flange must be removed, and that a full face gasket is required. This is to keep the thin, bittle cast iron flange from being sprung into the gap caused by the raised face of the carbon steel flange.
Ring-Type Joint (RTJ)
The Ring Type Joint flanges are typically used in high pressure (Class 600 and higher rating) and/or high temperature services above 800°F (427°C). They have grooves cut into their faces which steel ring gaskets. The flanges seal when tightened bolts compress the gasket between the flanges into the grooves, deforming (or Coining) the gasket to make intimate contact inside the grooves, creating a metal to metal seal.
An RTJ flange may have a raised face with a ring groove machined into it. This raised face does not serve as any part of the sealing means. For RTJ flanges that seal with ring gaskets, the raised faces of the connected and tightened flanges may contact each other. In this case the compressed gasket will not bear additional load beyond the bolt tension, vibration and movement cannot further crush the gasket and lessen the connecting tension.
Ring Type Joint gaskets
Ring Type Joint gaskets are metallic sealing rings, suitable for high-pressure and high-temperature applications. They are always applied to special, accompanying flanges which ensure good, reliable sealing with the correct choice of profiles and material.
Ring Type Joint gaskets are designed to seal by "initial line contact" or wedging action between the mating flange and the gasket. By applying pressure on the seal interface through bolt force, the "softer" metal of the gasket flows into the microfine structure of the harder flange material, and creating a very tight and efficient seal.