The seal mechanism is a knife-edge that is machined below flange's flat surface. As the bolts of a flange-pair are tightened, the knifeedges make annular grooves on each side of a soft metal gasket. The extruded metal fills all the machining marks and surface defects in the flange, yielding a leak-tight seal. The CF seal operates from 760 torr (1013 mbar) to-13 torr (-13 mbar), and within the temperature range -196° C to 450° C (depending on material). Flange sizes in North America are determined by outside diameter (O.D.). In Europe and much of Asia, the internal diameter (I.D.)—actually the nominal I.D. of the largest tube that can be welded to a bored flange—is used.
ConFlat flanges are offered in four versions— all relating to the bolt holes.