Heat Shields for High-Performance Cars Case Study

Protecting Composite Materials from Extreme Heat

The Problem: Composite Car Bodies Melting Under Intense Heat

Heat Shields for engine compartments in high-performance vehicles and diesel engines

A popular American manufacturer of composite sports car bodies came to Polymer with a problem: the engine and exhaust systems were producing more heat than their structures could handle! To stay on the cutting-edge, the manufacturer had made many advancements to the design of their sports car bodies over the years. Customers across the automotive industry are interested in purchasing faster, stronger, and more efficient cars. To keep up with trends, designers are forgoing traditional materials like aluminum and steel and creating lighter, composite bodies.

The sports car manufacturer, for example, used a composite resin and fiberglass body to improve the weight and handling of the finished vehicle. The issue was that the temperature produced from the engine during operation caused the body of the car to melt, warp, and distort. Modern engine and exhaust systems run a lot harder and hotter than their counterparts used to just a few short decades ago.

Even more troubling, the most affected part was the hood vent of the car and the exhaust system running the length of the car. Distortions in these areas can cause costly cosmetic and performance issues down the road. A warped car body can cause misalignment, which harms the lifespan and value of the vehicle. The manufacturer turned to the experts at Polymer for a solution to handle hot temperatures.

Our Proposal: POLYTECH® Heat Shields for Temperature Control

POLYTECH® Heat Shield  for thermal control and heat reflection

The manufacturer met up with us at a tradeshow, in search of materials to help solve their heat reflection issues. We listened to their problem, and recommended our POLYTECH® Heat Shield (HS-0035-ALVA3) to protect the integrity of the car body better. Our heat shields are an aluminum foil-faced fiberglass fabric and PSA composite designed to protect against high heat exposure and reflect radiant heat. The manufacturer was impressed with our material samples and agreed to meet with us at their facility to further discuss a solution for their specific needs.

A week later, our thermal experts headed to the manufacturer’s headquarters. Once there, we learned the exact specifications of their temperature requirements, as we needed to understand how long a surface needs to be protected and at what temperature. In localized areas, our heat shields can resist and reflect temperatures up to 1000°F.

After testing, our heat shield proved that it could withstand and reflect the upwards of 500°F produced by the engine and exhaust system. Our POLYTECH® materials were applied around the engine compartment and the underside of the vehicle. However, during testing, we discovered the heat shield underneath the car came into contact with a lot of dust and gravel, hampering the effectiveness of the material.

Improving the Solution: Testing for Optimal Performance

Heat shields for exhaust systems

The debris thrown from the tires of the vehicles dented and pitted the heat shield on the underside of the car. After gravel testing, our experts at Polymer found that while our original material performed great around the engine, a thinner and tougher solution was necessary for the undercarriage.

To hold up to the hazards present under the car, we devised a thinner, more versatile and more durable heat shield that can be applied virtually anywhere, POLYTECH® Heat Shield code AF-0020-2MILA3. The manufacturer vacuum-molds its composite parts. Our lightweight heat shields are laid into the mold and compressed into shape onto the part itself, providing complete thermal protection that can’t be dented or punctured.

The Results: Versatile Heat Shields for Thermal Reflection

The manufacturer was impressed with our materials and continues to use them in their production to protect the integrity of their composite vehicle body. Using heat shields to protect the structure and internal components of high-performance cars as well as vehicles with hotter operating engines is becoming more commonplace.

See how working with a materials supplier can help you find the right solution to stay in control of high temperatures.

« Return to Case Studies

Polymer Technologies, Inc. 2020. All Rights Reserved. Online Marketing by MilesTechnologies.com. Sitemap.