Automobiles generate heat in a number of ways. Racing automobiles create a lot of heat. Engines. Brakes. Turbos. Differentials. Radiators. Exhaust. All of them emit heat like mad and, ironically enough, heat is an enemy to a lot of the critical functions of a racecar.
Heat can make engines less powerful. It also can fatigue a driver, diminish the capabilities of lubricants and oils, and make things difficult to work on. The good news is that there are ways you can beat the heat, so to speak.
If your class allows the use of heat reflecting and insulating materials, you might be able to keep heat at bay with a variety of materials available. However, it’s important to know what to use and where. To find out a little bit more about the subject, we got in touch with Mike Buca, brand manager for Design Engineering Inc., a leading manufacturer of heat and sound control products in Avon Lake, Ohio. Buca sat down for a Q&A, and walked us through some of the basics of heat control.
Q: How many different kinds of heat shielding do you offer?
A: DEI offers many types and styles of heat shield material and kits. We break in down into really two types: 1) reflective and 2) insulating.
Q: Are there different design parameters for materials designed to keep in and materials designed to keep heat out?
A: Yes. Reflective materials are designed to reflect or reject heat away from the component you want to protect. An example would be an intake tube that you want to keep heat from warming the air inside the tube.
Insulating materials keep the heat or cold inside the component. A/C lines, Exhaust wraps for headers even radiator or heater hoses.
Q: Are there differences in the base materials?
A: The base materials we use vary depending on the application they will be used for. We have our floor and tunnel shield that uses a glass/poly blend as the insulation. This works very well when used to reflect heat away. In our Form-A-Shield we use the same aluminum facing but we use a basalt non-woven as the backing. In this configuration the material can be applied directly to the heat source and use as an insulator rather than a reflective material.
Q: What are the benefits of shielding or redirecting heat? Are there fuel delivery benefits?
A: Vapor lock is still a common problem that we solve by sleeving the fuel lines. This helps keep the fuel inside the lines from boiling.
Q: Are there ignition and electrical system benefits?
A: Depending on what the issue is that you want to cure. We have sleeving that can protect ignition cables from chemical’s, heat, abrasion or even RF interference. We also have wire loom sleeving for harnesses to improve the appearance and protection.
Q: What are some things we can do to address driver comfort?
A: Keeping the driver and passengers cool is very important. Nothing is worse than being in a car and getting hot. We can accomplish this is a variety of ways. Under the hood and vehicle by using exhaust wraps and reflective shields under the car. Inside the car using insulation under the carpet and headliners.
Q: How does a racer know which materials to use?
A: They can go to our website and look at the different applications to find the best solution, or they can call us and we can help they select the correct materials based on the needs they have.
Q: You use Creaform for certain applications. How does that work?
A: Yes, we use 3D scanning technology from Creaform. This allows us to quickly and very accurately scan a part so that we can make a pattern or template for creating a complex shield or cut material for an exact fit. We also use CNC cutting equipment so we can control and duplicate the part each time. This give the customer a much higher quality part that we can duplicate at any time.