July 15 2009.

Zircotec's new lightweight flexible ceramic heat shield material can reduce surface temperatures by up to 33 percent

Thermal management specialist Zircotec has developed what is believed to be the first ever flexible ceramic heat shield material. The new patent pending ZircoFlex product offers a low-cost solution to the thermal protection of vital engine components as well as external surfaces, increasing the durability and efficiency of the bike, while protecting the rider and pit crew from exposure to extreme heat. Zircoflex will be supplied in a roll, and can be easily applied to a wide range of motorcycle applications including race, road and off-road bikes.

"ZircoFlex can help protect a variety of different components including suspension and bodywork," comments Zircotec sales director Peter Whyman. "It complements our plasma-spray ceramic coating which is applied to motorcycle exhausts, and helps prevent the rider and pillion passenger from burning their legs. The coating can be applied to all types of road and race bike. We are continuing our research into flexible ceramic coatings and plan to produce an expanded range of ZircoFlex foils using a range of alternative substrates."

Zircotec's plasma sprayed ThermoHold based coatings are already used for the protection of metallic and composite components in an increasing number of applications. Applied to the material surface in a lightweight layer, Zircotec's engineered coatings can reduce surface temperatures by up to 33 percent. A limitation of the process has, until now, been the need to treat parts directly using 14000ºK plasma sprays.

Now, Zircotec has developed a new technology that allows its coatings to be supplied as a thin aluminium backed foil. The new material is lightweight at only 460g/m2 and only 0.25mm thick. ZircoFlex foil is however robust and easy to handle. It can be cut and installed by hand or machine, and is easily fixed in place using mechanical fasteners or high temperature adhesives.

Ceramic coatings are naturally brittle, which has limited their use up until now to rigid substrates. The new ZircoFlex product, which is the culmination of more than five years' intensive research and materials science, uses a new technology in which the ceramic material is sprayed in the form of thousands of individual 'platelets' on the surface of the foil. While they are close-packed to provide comprehensive heat protection, this structure allows the foil to be bent and manipulated to suit different geometries, and it can even be folded tightly through 180o without damaging the thermal barrier.

ZircoFlex can be purchased online via at a unit price of £69.70 + VAT per 58cm x 90cm sheet.

About Zircotec
Zircotec offers a wide selection of coating services to protect components against the effects of heat, wear, abrasion and oxidation. Originally developed for the nuclear energy industry, Zircotec's plasma-spray technology allows engineers to optimise material performance in a range of demanding applications including automotive, motorsport, marine, aerospace and industrial. Its new flexible ceramic coating is the first of its kind, providing lightweight thermal protection with dramatically improved ease of installation.

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