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The Benefits of Microporous Insulation in Race and High Performance Automotive Applications
HIGH PERFORMANCE RACING
Race/High Performance Automobile General Introduction:
Overview:
As technological advances are continually made to increase the overall performance of automobile engines and components for racing and competition, various issues regarding thermal management and insulation also manifest themselves as well. In addition, because each class of vehicle and individual type of race environment possesses its own unique set of unique challenges (i.e. extreme high and low frequency vibration, abrasion, the presence of moisture, space and weight conservation, achieving minute increases in engine or overall performance to acquire “competitive edge”, etc.), standard conventional insulation systems and composites are often poorly suited for thermal management in comparison to other more advanced materials such as microporous systems.
Because microporous insulation has been utilized by the aerospace and space industries for nearly four decades, it is ideally suited to readily apply the same technology to race/high performance automobiles as the harsh environments and requirements experienced in both are so similar in nature. Although many of the advantages of microporous insulation systems for such automotive environments may be applied unilaterally, there are also unique benefits for specific race classifications as well.
Classifications and Characteristics of Race/High Performance Automobiles:
CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams):
CART RACING
Top Speed: Approx 240 mph
Horsepower: Approx 800 Hp
Fuel: Methanol
Traction Control: Allowed
Engine: Turbocharged, 2.65 liter (161.703 cubic inch) V8
Gearbox: Manual w/4 – 7 forward gears
Tires: Ungrooved racing "slicks" manufactured by Bridgestone. Front: 10 inches max. width; Rear: 14 inches max. width
Wheelbase: Between 120 – 126”
Min. Weights: 1,550 pounds (1,525 pounds at super speedway events) including coolant and lubricant, without driver.
Max Height: 32 inches, excluding the roll-over hoop and rear wings for short ovals/road courses.
Max Width: 78.5 inches
Indy Race League (IRL):
INDY LEAGUE
Top Speed: Approx 230 mph
Horsepower: Approx 650 Hp
Fuel: Methanol
Traction Control: Not Allowed
Engine: 3.5-liter V8, 32-valve dual-overhead cam (DOHC), Normally aspirated
Gearbox: XTRAC gearbox (standard), six forward gears, sequential shifter
Tires: Bridgestone/Firestone
Wheelbase: 110 inches minimum (hub to hub)
Min. Weights: 1,550 pounds minimum, including all lubricants and coolants used during the event, but does not include fuel or driver
Max Height: Approximately 38 inches
Max Width: 78.5 inches (outside wheel rims) maximum, 74 inches minimum (measured at the hub centerline)
Formula 1 (F1):
FORMULA 1
Top Speed: Approx 225 mph
Horsepower: Approx 830 Hp
Fuel: Unleaded racing gasoline
Traction Control: Allowed
Engine: Normally-aspirated, 3-liter (183 cubic inches) V10 Turbochargers are forbidden
Gearbox: Semi-automatic with four to seven forward gears
Tires: Grooved racing "slicks". Front: 13.98 inches max. width; Rear: 14.97 inches max. width
Wheelbase: Between 106 and 120 inches
Min. Weights: 1322.77 lbs with driver
Max Height: 37.43 inches
Max Width: 70.87 inches
National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR):
NASCAR
Top Speed: Approx 200 mph
Horsepower: Approx 700 Hp
Fuel: Racing Gasoline
Traction Control: Not Allowed
Engine: Normally-Aspirated, 358 cubic inches V-8
Gearbox: Manual
Tires: Ungrooved Racing "slicks"
Wheelbase: 110 inches
Min. Weights: 3400 lbs. without driver
Max Height: 51 inches
Max Width: 79 inches
How does ThermoDyne’s HyperDyne_ Microporous Insulation fit into the equation?
General Benefits of HyperDyne™ Insulation:
Weight Conservation:
In most environments, HyperDyne™ microporous materials can be utilized to reduce the weight of a given insulation system by 25% or higher without compromising the thermal performance of the system. As an example, a system which operates at 1,270°F (688°C) and utilizes 2” thick of 8 PCF ceramic fiber blanket to achieve a cold face temperature of 238°F (114°C), weighs approximately 1.6#/SF. If that same system substitutes a thickness of .75” of HyperDyne™ 16 PCF microporous insulation for the ceramic blanket insulation system, it achieves the same cold face temperature (238°F/114°C), but weighs only 1.2 #/SF. This amounts to a 25% decrease in the weight of the insulation system, and becomes increasingly more advantageous as the square footage/area to be insulated increases (i.e. if there is a total of 20 SF of insulation necessary for the system, utilizing HyperDyne™ microporous insulation instead of ceramic blanket reduces the overall weight of the insulation system by 8 pounds!).
Thermal Management:
For race and high performance automotive applications that demand an absolute minimization of heat loss through the insulation composite (particularly in turbochargers and catalectic converters), microporous insulation systems are more effective than any other existing material currently on the market. In most environments, using ThermoDyne’s HyperDyne™ microporous materials in the same thickness as the current system are able to achieve a heat flux/loss of 40 – 60% lower than the existing system.
For example, a system which operates at 1270°F (688°C) and utilizes a 1” thickness of ceramic fiber blanket 8# yields a steady-state heat loss of approximately 659.64 Btu/Sf/Hr, while a 1” thickness of HyperDyne 16 PCF microporous material yields a steady-state heat loss of only 258.90 Btu/Sf/Hr. This amounts to a 60% improvement in thermal management for the system, and directly correlates to a parallel decrease in the amount of energy necessary to keep the system at its desired operating temperature.
Increased Capacity for Space Sensitive Areas:
Because microporous insulation was originally developed for the aerospace industry, where both weight and space conservation are critical in any component or system included in the design, ThermoDyne’s HyperDyne™ microporous insulation systems are also suited to reduce the amount of space necessary for insulation. In so doing, they are able to increase the “useable space” for other components, and can usually be utilized at less than 50 – 75% the thickness of current conventional systems without compromising the thermal performance of the system or the weight involved. A system, for instance, that operates at 1,270°F (688°C) and utilizes 8 PCF ceramic fiber blanket to achieve a cold face temperature of 238°F (114°C) requires a thickness of 2” to achieve its goals. If, however, that same system substitutes a thickness of .75” of HyperDyne° 16 PCF microporous insulation for the ceramic blanket insulation system, it achieves the same cold face temperature (238°F/114°C), but does so with 62% less material.
Driver Safety/Comfort:
A study performed by NASA on the viability of aerospace insulation components for the competitive automotive racing industry found that:
“Thermal-insulation blankets developed for use aboard the space shuttle can be adapted to a racing car to protect the driver against excessive cockpit heating…Thermal protection for the driver is necessary because, unlike the passenger compartment of a conventional automobile, the cockpit of a racing car is subject to intense heating as a result of unique racing-design features. In particular, the exhaust pipes are routed so close to the sheet metal of the floor pan and transmission tunnel that a significant portion of the heat radiated by the exhaust system (at a power density of about 12 kW/m2) enters the cockpit, and even at high speed, the airflow is so limited that the cockpit is not cooled to a
Hotspots can develop near the driver's right foot and under the driver's seat. In the absence of thermal protection, a driver can sustain localized second- or third-degree burns. Although a cooling suit can be used to protect the driver, it adds undesired complexity and weight. In addition, a malfunction in the active cooling system could result in active heating of the driver.”.” (NASA, KSC- 11938).
Hotspots diagram
High-Performance Insulating Blankets made of spacecraft-grade materials can be used to prevent excessive transfer of heat from exhaust pipes to the interior of a racing-car cockpit.
NASCAR type vehicles and their drivers are particularly susceptible to engine-generated heat because the engine of the car is in front of the driver (thus, heat from the engine passes to the driver), whereas in other race vehicles, the engine is situated at the rear of the car and passes heat out of the system without transferring the energy “through” the driver first.
Microporous insulation, therefore, can help in substantially lowering the amount of heat that passes to the driver, and can lower the cold face temperature of a cockpit floorboard or panel by as much as 150°F in a thickness and weight less than or equal to that currently used.
HyperDyne™ Benefits Within Specific Race Categories:
CART (Champ Car), F1 (Formula 1), IRL (Indy-car) Teams
Aerospace technology made available for high performance automobiles. HyperDyne systems utilize the highest grade components accepted by aerospace industry OEM’s and fabricators to provide materials with the highest level of vibration, abrasion and moisture resistance while operating within rigid requirements of space, weight and energy conservation.
Highly customized individual components. ThermoDyne’s HyperDyne microporous insulation systems are each highly engineered and individually customized to meet the needs of uniquely operated teams and vehicles.
Space and Weight Conservation. Because ThermoDyne places an intense focus on material weight and space conservation while maintaining thermal efficiency, it is able to offer savings 33 – 66% higher than those achieved with conventional systems.
Unparalleled thermal efficiency advantages. HyperDyne microporous systems are up to 50% more thermally efficient than existing systems such as ceramic fiber blanket, ceramic fiber papers, foams, fiberglass and high temperature textiles.
NASCAR
Space and Weight Conservation. Because ThermoDyne places an intense focus on material weight and space conservation while maintaining thermal efficiency, it is able to offer savings 33 – 66% higher than those achieved with conventional systems.
Unparalleled thermal efficiency advantages. HyperDyne microporous systems are up to 50% more thermally efficient than existing systems such as ceramic fiber blanket, ceramic fiber papers, foams, fiberglass and high temperature textiles.
Substantially help to reduce cockpit temperature, thus keeping drivers safer and cooler than with conventional systems. Because most NASCAR vehicles are organized so that the engine of the car is in front of the driver, drivers often experience a significant amount of discomfort from the heat generated by the high performance engine.
Microporous insulation can help in substantially lowering the amount of heat that passes to the driver, and performs between 25 – 50% better than conventional blanket insulation systems.
Systems are easy to install, remove, service and replace. HyperDyne microporous systems are designed for maximum performance with minimum effort in installation and maintenance. As a result, they are ideally suited for high performance automotive environments where attention should more appropriately be diverted to other areas.
Components are cosmetically appealing for “visible” areas. HyperDyne microporous systems are available in a variety of colors and cloth facings, making them visually appealing as well as functionally superior for those components that will be visible to the public.
HyperDyne Product Forms and Uses:
HyperDyne Standard Flexible:
HyperDyne Standard Flexible systems are provided in 36” x 36” (914mm x 914mm) sheets at thicknesses of .125 - .5” (3 – 13mm) with densities ranging from 12 – 16 PCF (196 - 258 Kg/M3). Standard cloth facings are E-Glass based (approx 1,200°F use limit), and are square-stitched on 1” centers with E-Glass thread (approx 1,200°F use limit).
HyperDyne Non-standard Flexible:
HyperDyne Non-standard Flexible systems are available in a wide variety of additional sheet sizes (square-stitched sheets up to 66”x 66”, or parallel-stitched sheets up to 66” wide x indefinite length), densities (ultra-lightweight densities as low as 8 PCF (129 Kg/M3)) and cloth facings (aluminized, silicone coated, metal encapsulated).
HyperDyne Tapes and Wraps:
HyperDyne Tapes and Wraps are available in any of the forms listed above for standard and non-standard flexible forms, but are provided at widths as narrow as 1” wide.
HyperDyne Fabricated Parts and Articles:
HyperDyne Fabricated Parts and Articles are specially designed, engineered and fabricated to meet exact specifications and applications for individual scenarios. They may utilize one or a number of the various product forms listed above, as well as additional outside materials, and may also incorporate specialized formulations, methods of manufacturing, and quality systems to ensure the successful accomplishment of all the goals set forth by a high performance automobile team.
Typical Suggested Uses for HyperDyne Materials:
Turbocharger wraps
Floorboard heat shields for driver
Muffler/catalytic converter heat shield
Header manifold covers
Starter heat shields
Hose, pipe and exhaust system insulators
Any customized or engineered thermal management system
For more information about ThermoDyne’s HyperDyne microporous product line and/or any of its other products or services, please contact the ThermoDyne Sales/Marketing team at toll-free: 866.741.5458.
Notes and References:
Calculations assume steady state, are provided for comparison purposes only, and are not intended for design specifications as individual scenarios for material use may vary.
Photo and Graphics Sources used by permission:
http://www.racingone.com
NASA TechBrief # KSC-11938, Courtesy of Kennedy Space Center
ThermoDyne phone fax and address