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Zircotec is continually finding new applications for its high temperature coatings, heat barriers and thermal management services.  Please find all the latest news about new developments and events that Zircotec is attending...

Zircotec keeps supersonic land speed record car cool

19th August 2015


Cooling a 135,000bhp, 1000mph car poses critical challenges for safety & performance that now, just 6mths ahead of the first run, the Bloodhound SSC team is looking to Zircotec to help solve.


As the build of Bloodhound SSC gains momentum and a planned UK test in Newquay is just months away, engineers are increasingly looking at the detail design challenges to help them push the car to 1000mph and above. These include the issues of cooling the tightly-packaged Rocket engine together with ensuring the volatile HTP (High Test Peroxide) doesn't decompose before it reaches the rocket chamber and in effect, become a bomb.


"We've got  approximately 1000 litres of HTP that has the equivalent explosive force of 1 stick of dynamite per litre if it reaches 40°C, and starts to decompose" says Tony Parraman, of the sponsorship liaison team. "Packaging dictates that our supercharged Jaguar engine, that we use to pump 900 litres in just 20 seconds, is sat next to the tank so preventing heat transfer is on our essential list." 


As a prime source of heat in proximity to the tank, the Bloodhound SSC team specified Zircotec's ThermoHold® ceramic coating for the Jaguar exhaust.  Plasma-sprayed at twice the speed of sound itself, the coating can reduce surface temperatures by at least 30 percent, ensuring even as heat builds up during the two runs needed for the record to be validated, the tank remains stable.


Unlike previous record challenging cars, a large proportion of the Bloodhound front structure is composite. Chosen for its excellent strength-to-weight ratio, the drawback of composites is its poor resistance to temperature compared to metallic options.  "We turned to Zircotec again," adds Parraman. "We know that they have supplied heat resistant coatings to F1 teams for years, literally preventing the delamination of carbon fibre in high temperature environments, enabling the material to be used above its traditional melting point." Zircotec proposed ThermoHold® for Composites, a zirconia-based coating that is applied at temperatures exceeding 10,000°C but in such a way that the substrate is unaffected. "Zircotec's patented technology for protecting composites offers a huge benefit, allowing the use of lightweight materials in places where they are exposed to significant heat.

   Blooodhound SSC land speed record challenger looks to Zircotec for solutions to heat management
   Bloodhound SSC outer skin showing carbon composite supports that are themselves protected by Zircotec coatings


Our engineers are not experts in thermal management and having Zircotec's technical support is helping to ensure we only use the coating where it is needed, saving weight where we can," adds Parraman. "We have used the coating on the composite upper chassis hoop, offering lightweight resistance that lowers surface temperatures by 100°C."


Digging yet deeper into the Zircotec parts bin has seen Bloodhound pick ZircoFlex®. The proven hybrid aluminium/ceramic heatshield, just 0.3mm thick, is being applied around any areas of the vehicle where heat is expected and needs to be resisted. "With ZircoFlex® we can bend and mould it to shape, it's lightweight and with self-adhesive backing, good for up to 500°C, we can use in lots of areas," claims Parraman. "For example after a two minute run, the internal temp of the jet or rocket might be 3000°C but the externals are 200°C. We can manage that heat with ZircoFlex®, protecting wiring looms and composite panels."


With ambient temperatures of 40°C expected in the South African desert, Zircotec is being relied upon to keep temperatures down during the critical time slot of one hour between the two runs. "We've got 60 minutes to turn the car ‘around," adds Parraman. "We want to prevent heat soak during this time. It will help us work faster without the risk of getting burnt and if we need to change the rocket, it should speed up changeover time."


The team will trial the car in South Africa, providing a real test of the thermal protection. "We plan to thermocouple the car and see where the heat issues are," suggests Parraman. "It's a one-off and we are pushing the boundaries so we don't know all the answers. Once we do, we'll be working with Zircotec to ensure that when we do get to Hakseen Pan in South Africa we are fully prepared to deal with the heat."

Article in Just Auto Magazine on Zircotec's OEM business

4th August 2015


Automotive and motorsport coatings specialist Zircotec recently announced that it had secured a number of new OEM contracts for both OE automotive and motorcycle exhaust coatings, marking a step change in the volumes its UK-based factory is now producing. Matthew Beecham spoke to managing director Terry Graham about the transition to volume manufacturing and challenges of supporting these new projects.


The article is in the current issue of Just Auto.

   Zircotec ceramic coatings as used in OEM applications

New Authorised Distributor - Fast Fox Performance

3rd August 2015


Since becoming an Authorised Zircotec Distributor earlier this year, Fast Fox Performance Parts has been busily attracting new business through both its online shop and through direct UK customer sales.


Fast Fox is able to offer the entire range of Zircotec ceramic coatings and heat shield products, and has been showing these products at a number of recent events including Trax and the recent Ford Fair Show at Silverstone. Zircotec has been please to provide expert advice and support at both events where there has been significant interest in our products.


Visit our Distributor Page for the full list of Authorised Zircotec Distributors worldwide. 

  Zircotec ceramic coatings and ZircoFlex heat shield products offered by FAST FOX


Zircotec is currently offering a number of engineering apprenticeship opportunities

29th May 2015


Zircotec is offering a number of new engineering apprenticeship opportunities for 2015. Our Apprenticeship programme provides a mix of hands-on practical experience in our busy manufacturing environment coupled with a structured programme of day-release study at the Abingdon & Witney College, Abingdon. We work closely with the college on this and you will be assessed by the college both at college and in the workplace. 

In the first two years you will be studying towards an NVQ2 and BTEC Level 2 in Engineering Technical Support (or in Engineering Maintenance & Installation), so there will be a mix of academic work as well as hands-on workplace experience with Zircotec. After completion of your NVQ2 course you will have the choice to either continue with your apprenticeship for a further two years, with ongoing study at the Abingdon & Witney College to gain an NVQ3 qualification, or alternatively you may choose to move to a full-time position with Zircotec. Further details>



In conjunction with...

   In conjunction with Abingdon & Witney College

Zircotec technical partner Strakka Racing continues WEC Campaign at Spa

1st May 2015


Zircotec technical partner Strakka Racing heads to the Ardennes for the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship this weekend, 1st May 2015, targeting another podium finish.


Just a few weeks after the opening round of the World Endurance Championship at Silverstone, Strakka Racing is back on track this weekend at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, for the annual six-hour race. After Silverstone, where the new DOME S103 picked up a podium finish on its debut, the driver line up of Nick Leventis, Danny Watts and Jonny Kane is relishing the opportunity to build on this result that forms a key part of the preparations for the Le Mans 24 Hours.

  Zircotec partner Strakka Racing at Spa with ceramic exhaust coating and ZircoFlex heatshield

"Spa is a real driver's circuit, one of my favourites," says Watts. "It's worth the trip just for the experience of driving up Eau Rouge and Raidillon, but overall it's just a mega event. For most teams, it's the dress rehearsal for Le Mans, and understandably so; it's a tough race on a tough circuit, the last chance to prove to everyone you mean business before focusing on the big one at La Sarthe.


"There's always a good crowd at the Spa Six Hours too, with plenty of passionate British supporters making the trip across the channel to see the cars in action one last time before we head to France. It marks the point in the year when Le Mans fever really starts."


Since Silverstone, the team has been hard at work on its in-house simulator, using it to finesse set up the DOME S103 for the specific requirements of the Belgian track.


"We've focused on looking at the setup of the DOME S103 in dry conditions," adds technical director Jay Davenport. "We were on the pace in LMP2 at Silverstone in the wet but lacked speed when the conditions improved. We know there's a gap to the frontrunners in the class we need to close but we are making progress with changes we have been evaluating."


Driver Danny Watts is no stranger to Spa, having raced there 11 times, spanning multiple formulae during his career. Notably, Watts had a good run at the track in the early ‘00s driving in British Formula 3 and was with Strakka Racing in 2011 when it finished third in LMP2 in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.


"Oddly enough my best result at the circuit other than the podium with Strakka, was back in the 2004 British F3 season, when I was driving a Lola DOME amongst an armada of Dallaras, finishing in the top five in both races that year," adds Watts. "I'm hoping for a repeat in fortunes now I'm driving a DOME at the circuit once again, that would be a good story to tell."


Strakka Racing will be at Spa Francorchamps from the 30th of April till the 2nd of May and you can follow its progress on twitter @strakkaracing or its Facebook page.

Zircotec extends partnership with Ferrari ELMS team

2nd April 2015


Successful use of Zircotec coatings and heat shield products through 2013 & 2014 leads to expansion of technical partnership with JMW Motorsport for the 2015 season.


Effective thermal management that both protects and extended the life of race components has led European Le Mans Series GTE front-runners JMW Motorsport to extend its partnership with Zircotec.  In addition to ceramic coating the exhaust, JMW Motorsport will use ZircoFlex heatshield on the gearbox air regulator and bulkhead to minimise the adverse effects of heat soak in endurance racing. 2015 will see Zircotec also coat parts of the composite floor for the first time, extending the service life of a costly part.


"Managing heat is a key factor for the reliability in endurance racing," says JMW's chief engineer Davey Nicholls. "With the car running for up to 24 hours, pretty much non-stop, not having to worry about thermal management is a big attraction of using Zircotec."


The benefits of using Zircotec's technology also appeal to JMW's driver line up of BTCC driver Sam Tordoff and sportscar specialist George Richardson. "Drivers don't need the distraction and discomfort of high temperatures in the cockpit. We are always seeking ways to reduce the rate of fatigue," says Richardson. "Keeping the cockpit cool also reduces the need for the aircon that saps power. Having Zircotec on the car delivers performance and reliability is just what we need in sports car racing. It's a real advantage."


JMW Motorsports' Ferrari 458 GTE will compete in the European Le Mans Series and the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours in 2015.

   Zircotec coating and ZircoFlex used on JMW Ferrari ELMS car
   Zircotec ceramic coating and heat shield products used on JMW Ferrari ELMS car

Zircotec continues technical partnership with Marc VDS Racing

24th February 2015


Zircotec is pleased to announce that it is to continue it's successful technical partnership with Marc VDS Racing, as the 2014 Moto2 champions graduate to the premier league of motorbike racing.


The successful application of Zircotec's ceramic exhaust coatings on Marc VDS Racing's 600cc Moto2 machines has convinced the team to continue iour technical partnership through the 2015 season.


The 2014 Moto2 World Champions will continue relying upon the advanced and highly durable thermal management coatings of Zircotec, having proven the wide-ranging benefits in a series of extensive back-to-back tests since 2012. The team has successfully recorded surface temperature reductions of up to 55%.


The heat reductions have led to improved reliability, driveability and also a reduced risk of rider fatigue, especially in the face of extreme climatic conditions throughout the season.


 "As the team defends the Moto2 title in 2015, for us it was vital to continue our use of Zircotec's ThermoHold® coatings," says Pete Benson, chief mechanic at Marc VDS Racing. "Through an extensive track testing programme, we've found that surface temperature reductions on the Moto2 bike ranged from 31% to an impressive 55%, with a typical reduction of around 40%. The 40% reduction came as surface temperatures fell from 421° C to 252° C, which is astonishing."
  Marc VDS Racing Moto 2 bike
   Marc VDS Racing Moto 2 bike (2)

"The coatings have consistently proven themselves over the past three seasons to perform even under the most extreme conditions, keeping the heat within the manifold and getting it away from the engine as quickly as possible," says Benson. "We tend to change manifolds after 3000kms, but have never found a trace of deterioration of the coating." 


Demonstrating the value of the partnership both on and off track, test data from Marc VDS' Moto2 ‘bikes was used to develop Zircotec's EnduranceTM range of motorcycle exhaust coatings. "Our Endurance coating is now already specified by motorcycle manufacturers and is available for any motorcyclist to manage heat and keep their exhausts looking good," concludes Zircotec's managing director Terry Graham.


The MotoGP championship kicks off in Qatar on the 29th March.


Zircotec is to continue working with BTCC contender Andrew Jordan in 2015

10th February 2015


Our partnership with British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) contender Andrew Jordan is to continue for the 2015 Season with his move to Triple Eight Race Engineering.

We supported Andrew during his 2013 championship win and we are happy for our support to follow him back to his former team. Andrew's new MG6 GT race car will receive our Performance White ceramic exhaust coating alongside extensive use of ZircoFlex heat shielding materials, helping to manage heat from the 300 bhp-plus turbocharged engine, improving performance, reliability and durability for the whole of the the 30-round season.

  BTCC contender Andrew Jordan is to continue to work with Zircotec