“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. 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.”