Automobili Lamborghini selected Zircotec to supply a thermal barrier for its one million Euro Reventón car. Zircotec’s plasma-sprayed Diamond Black coating is applied to the exhaust and inhibits heat transfer from the tailpipe protecting heat sensitive components from damage.
Lamborghini needed a durable solution that protected the composite bodywork and components at the rear of the car. Traditional paint finishes were unable to meet the stringent quality and durability requirements set by Lamborghini. Zircotec’s coating is plasma-sprayed to the base material, making it extremely well adhered to the underlying component to provide an extremely hard and durable surface that is highly resistant to vibration, mechanical damage and more resilient during heat cycling and life testing. Together with the new black finish, Zircotec delivers not only a highly durable coating but one that satisfied the requirements of Lamborghini’s Styling Department.
“The Zircotec coating was the only coating that satisfied all our requirements,”
says Luca Meschiari, Head of Exhausts at Lamborghini.
“It is durable and offers significantly better performance than any other solution we have seen.”
As packaging restrictions increase,together with a requirement to reduce weight, the Zircotec coating offers OEMs a robust, easily packaged solution that can dramatically inhibit the transfer of heat from exhausts, turbos and catalysts, protecting heat sensitive components. Proven in Formula 1 and World Rally, Lamborghini joins other prestige vehicle manufacturers and top level motorsport competitors to benefit from a technology that was originally developed for the nuclear industry. The technology allows OEMs to to quickly resolve heat management, even on existing platforms.
For further details of the Zircotec Diamond Black coating click here.
Impreza Type 25
The ultimate Subaru road car relies on the ultimate heat barrier coating to sharpen its performance edge.
Litchfield’s Impreza Type 25 is designed to be the ultimate hot Suburu, using superb design and attention to detail to lift it above outstanding competitors. Based on the already quick Japanese-only Spec C car, it features a more powerful, 2.5 litre engine co-developed with Cosworth. This produces 415bhp, rather than around 300 on the ‘standard’ car, but it also generates more heat.
“This can be a problem because of the way Subaru engine bays are laid out,”
explains managing director Iain Litchfield.
“The intercooler sits on top of the engine, rather than down at the front by the radiator. This is fine when you’re driving along but if you sit in traffic it doesn’t get the air flow needed to keep it cool.”
An intercooler is a heat exchanger that cools the air compressed by the turbo before it enters the engine. Cooler air is denser, so packs more oxygen into the cylinders, producing more power. However, the intercooler’s effectiveness is determined by the difference in temperature between air passing through it and the air around it. On the Subaru this is a particular challenge because the up-pipe that brings hot exhaust gases to power the turbo and the down-pipe that takes them away are both routed directly beneath the intercooler.
To resolve this, Litchfield, having heard about its work on World Rally Championship cars, turned to Zircotec.
The company’s plasma-sprayed ceramic coating (see Performance White™ & Performance Colours™ ) is proven at the highest levels of motorsport, with five grand prix teams amongst customers for the high-tech thermal barrier. Durability is exceptionally high offering tremendous potential for fast road car applications.
For the Litchfield Tyre 25 both the up and down-pipes were coated. This prevents the exhausts transferring heat to the intercooler, keeping the charge cool and improving the car’s performance. It also increases the engine’s responsiveness. Litchfield explains:
“The more heat and energy you can keep in the system, the faster the turbo will spool up. We’re finding it’s bringing the turbo up to speed 300 or 400 rpm sooner, which you can really feel in the crispness of the throttle response. It’s little details like this that make a big difference.”
Classic & Sports Cars
Heat soak and the temperature-related degradation of component finish can be greatly reduced by a plasma-sprayed ceramic coating already relied on by five Formula One teams.
Desmond J. Smail, one of Europe’s leading specialists in exceptional classic Aston Martins, is already using the technique. “Most classic cars have very poor thermal management from new,” explains Desmond Smail. “Our customers today don’t want to be cooked by exhaust manifolds close to the scuttle or have the finish of their rebuilt engine ruined by heat within a few thousand miles. They also expect reliability equivalent to modern vehicles, so components and fuel systems have to be protected from the heat of the engine. Zircotec’s high temperature coatings have proved extremely effective at addressing all of these issues.”
Smail also points out that the plasma sprayed ceramic coating (Performance White™ ) is often chosen just for its aesthetic qualities.
“In its natural state it looks like period asbestos paint, but of course it lasts many times longer making it ideal for competition cars. For road cars, we usually specify a Silver Finish that matches the engineering quality of the DB series,”
“We have found Zircotec to be a very professional business, managed by people who genuinely care about quality and service. They are a great supplier for a specialist in high quality, high performance restorations.”
Manifolds are one of several components that can have these kinds of ceramic coatings applied, helping to protect classic cars from the effects of excessive heat.
The Zircotec coating process
The zirconia based ceramic coatings have a thermal conductivity of less than 1.7 W/m K, so provide an excellent thermal barrier. When applied to an exhaust manifold system the Zircotec coating inhibits the radiation of heat from the surface of the material, holding the heat inside. The coating can also be applied to other components including heatshields and carbon composites.
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