Aston Martin’s One-77 is based on a carbon fibre composite chassis with an aluminium body. Thermohold coating is applied to the car’s diffuser and underbonnet air intakes.
Aston Martin’s One-77 is based on a carbon fibre composite chassis with an aluminium body. Thermohold coating is applied to the car’s diffuser and underbonnet air intakes.

Composites are often unsuited to high temperature environments, explains Terry Graham, managing director of Zircotec.

“Traditionally this leads to vehicle makers opting for more conservative materials that add weight or they rely on bulky heatshields that ultimately blunt performance,” he says.

“Our discreet ceramic coating protects the One-77 composites components and in the case of the diffuser, enables exhaust gases to pass through, just as they did in F1.”

Zircotec’s coating, which has been proven in Formula 1 and at Le Mans, can lower composite surface temperatures by more than 125°C, creating opportunities to use composites under the bonnet.

“Our coating not only protects the composite induction system from heat but also ensures that the air intake temperature is lower,” adds Graham. “Moreover, a decrease in this temperature creates a denser charge and is a feature relied upon by many Le Mans racing teams we supply.”

Zircotec’s proprietary process uses a gas plasma flame running at 12,000°C to apply the ThermoHold heat resistant formulation in molten powder form on to the composite components. Unlike paint, Zircotec’s plasma spray application process ensures better adhesion.

Engine downsizing is leading to hotter engines with tighter packaging. We are seeing future specifications suggesting underbonnet temperature increases to close to 200°C. Our coating is a true enabling technology and will enable composites to be considered in this area of the car.
Terry Graham, managing director, Zircotec

As the automotive industry seeks to adopt more composites to achieve higher efficiency, Zircotec believes that the coating technology pioneered on the Aston Martin One-77 is likely to be adopted by other OEMs.

UK company Zircotec offers a range of plasma sprayed ceramic and metallic coatings that protect components against the effects of heat, wear, abrasion and corrosion. Zircotec’s technologies can be applied to a broad range of different materials including metals and composites.