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Like most car care products, automotive heatshields can be found everywhere. But which is the trusted brand to go for?

22 Oct 2012 | Category: Car Technical Advice

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What is an automotive heatshield?

Automotive heatshields are essentially insulating heat wraps that can help to prevent radiant heat damages to your car. Internal combustion engines, found in almost all of the cars we see on the road today, give off large amount of heat during operation. While the some of the engine components require a certain temperature to run at optimum levels, there are a number of others which can be adversely affected by the heat emitted by the engine.

Automotive heatshield and its uses

This is where heatshields come into play. Most engines, in fact, comes factory fitted with such shields to protect components and even parts of the chassis or bodywork from the heat. These surfaces may succumb to wear and tear as well as cracks, under prolonged exposure to heat, if left unprotected. Besides ensuring a more optimum operating environment for the various parts of the engine, heatshields can effectively prevent wear and tear of surfaces which are due to overexposure to extreme heat.

Heatshield lowers temperature of the engine bay
 
Heatshields are commonly installed in the engine bay, where most of the heat in a car is produced. Common areas that require heatshields to be fitted include air box, air-con cooling pipes, underneath of the bonnets, and firewalls. More impressively, heatshields can also be installed on fibreglass and aluminium air induction piping too.

In addition, heatshields can be used to enhance the performance of the engine. For instance, they can be fitted to air intake inlets to effectively reduce the intake temperature, hence improving the efficiency of the combustion.

 
Due to the strenuous operating conditions of heat shields, the installation process and materials involved also plays a paramount role in ensuring the durability and effectiveness of the product. For instance, the high operating temperatures will hasten the disintegration of most adhesives, thus rendering them useless in a short period of time. Inappropriate use of materials may also lead to fire hazards.

Types of automotive heatshield


Currently, there are many types of heatshields in the market, each boasting a different degree of effectiveness. One of them is the conventional heatshield. It works by deflecting heat away from the affected areas. Such shields are usually made of aluminium, due to its light-weight and reflective properties. However, as heat is transferrable via means other than radiation, the effect of reflective heatshields is limited.

To further boost heat resistant properties, heatshields of better qualities boast additional coatings, usually in the form of a thermal barrier made out of ceramic. The material, when used wisely, can significantly improve the insulating properties of the shield. The downside, however, is the increased weight due to the mass of the material.

Another type of heatshield is foam insulation. Advanced material science has lead to the discovery of composites which has better qualities than conventional materials, fabricated through the combination of various materials.

Foam insulation, for instance, can effectively hamper heat transfer via conduction. It is also more readily available; hence the end products are more affordable. Moreover, the lightweight properties of foam insulation materials make it an ideal candidate for automotive use. 

Fabricated heatshield, prior to installation in the engine bay

 
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