General mast
Application Analysis: Employing Microporous Insulation to Lower the Cockpit Temperature of a NASCAR Race Car.
A NASCAR race team is experiencing problems with their driver overheating during races, and believes that its current passive insulation systems could be improved to keep the driver cooler. By placing thermocouples and recording equipment in the cockpit during a trial where the vehicle traveled 100 miles at an average of 170 mph, it was determined that substantial amounts of heat were being passed to the driver through ten primary points along the exhaust system which manifested themselves most prevalently along the floorboards and driver’s seat.

It was further determined that the system’s currently utilized 12 SF of 1” thickness quilted fiberglass blanket along the exhaust and under/around the driver’s seat (8# density) was yielding a cold face temperature/driver interface of approximately 175°F. Although the team expected the air traveling through and around the vehicle to carry away a good deal of the heat from the engine and exhaust, it was revealed that the closed nature of the exhaust and cockpit floor allowed only a very small amount of convection to carry heat away from the cockpit (approx only 40 fps equivalent as opposed to the 249 fps ambient velocity expected as equivalent to velocity of the vehicle).
Primary Goals:
• Lower the cold face temperature of the seat and floorboards by 25% to achieve a driver interface temperature of no more than 130°F (54°C).
• Any goals achieved in lowering the cold face driver interface temperature should not add any additional weight or space to the current configuration.
• Any reductions in space or weight achieved by the insulation would also be beneficial.
By substituting a .50” thickness HyperDyne™ Flexible 16# microporous insulation for the 1” thick quilted 8# density fiberglass blanket being used currently, all goals for the NASCAR team can be met.
Analysis & Comparison:
Exhaust Manifold Insulation
Exhaust Manifold Insulation chart
• Utilizing the HyperDyne™ microporous insulation at the prescribed thickness yields a cold face driver interface temperature 50 degrees lower than the current system which employs quilted fiberglass.
• Although the microporous material is more dense, it adds no additional weight to the current requirements for the insulation system.
• The HyperDyne™ microporous materials can be used to achieve a 50% reduction in necessary insulation thickness, thus increasing the amount of useable space around the exhaust.
ThermoDyne’s HyperDyne™ microporous insulation systems accomplish all of the NASCAR team’s stated goals, and are the best solution to the problems associated with the team’s thermal management challenge. For more information about how ThermoDyne’s HyperDyne™ materials may be of use in your particular race or high performance automotive application, please contact ThermoDyne’s team of Application Engineers toll-free at: 866.741.5458.
- Calculations assume ambient air temperature to be = 74°F, with convection velocity = 40 fps, and using planar geometry consistent with a roof structure.
- Calculations and information provided are for comparison purposes only, and are not intended for design specifications as individual scenarios for material use may vary.
• Calculations assume steady state during points of comparison and analysis.
• Additional information supplied by NASA (Tech Brief # KSC-11938)
• Graphic courtesy of Racing One (
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