Heatshield 101

Before buying any heatshield exhaust wrap, header pipe wrap, or other insulation it is imperative to educate yourself about the product and the application. The following information is intended to be a guide to help you decide which type of heat shield insulation is best for your application. We can provide you all the technical data for the product, but ultimately it is up to you to pick the best heatshield material or insulator for your application.

First things first, do your homework. Decide if you have a conductive heat issue or a radiant heat issue.

Conductive heat transmits heat from the heat source to a component by direct contact. Conductive heat is a little more difficult to manage. If you have such an application you can try using a heat insulator product to act as a thermal gasket or thermal break to help minimize the transfer of conductive heat from component to component.

Radiant heat is heat that radiates from a heat source to a component that is not in direct contact with the heat source; instead it sits at a distance. Example: an exhaust pipe 1" away from a floor pan radiates heat up to the floor pan or into an engine room

Check your temperature ratings for your application(s). If you have access to an infrared temperature gun use it. Record the temperatures of the components you need protected and measure the temperatures of the heat source(s). In addition, measure the distance between the component you want to protect and the heat source. Taking these steps will help you make your decision between a heat shield insulator and a heat shield barrier. You would not buy a pair of cylinder heads or an intake manifold without finding the correct parts for your engine; do not do the same thing with thermal insulation. We at Heatshield do not want you to waste your money buying the wrong product. Therefore we will do everything within our ability to help you get the right product, at the right price, with the best service.

Heatshield Products Learn More

Heat Insulators - Heat insulators, retain heat in what they are placed upon. The most efficient way to fix a hot firewall, interior, engine room, or fuel cell is to stop heat at the source with an insulator. The most common used insulators are exhaust wraps, but there are other options. Most insulators wraps available on the market are comprised of fiberglass, which is good for 1000 degrees Fahrenheit of continuous direct heat. Fiberglass wraps can have special coatings applied to them such as "Vermiculite", graphite, etc., which allows the fiberglass to take 1200 degrees Fahrenheit of continuous direct contact. Heatshield Products has developed a proprietary HPTC coating which allows the glass to sustain 1350F continuous; in addition the wrap will remain flexible, strong, and abrasion resistant even at 1350F. Be cautious of any fiberglass wrap advertising or labeled as 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, the 2000 degrees Fahrenheit number on a fiberglass exhaust wrap is the maximum temperature a fiberglass exhaust heat wrap can withstand for less than 30 seconds. Anything above 2000F for period of time will cook fiberglass exhaust wraps; fiberglass header wrap get brittle and fall apart when this happens. That means you have exceeded the 1200 degrees Fahrenheit continual operating temperature, the chemical makeup of the material has changed, and begun to crystallize. For these applications we highly recommend our Inferno Wrap. Have you ever had a basalt (volcanic rock) wrap get brittle and fall apart? Much like the fiberglass exhaust wraps, the volcanic rock (basalt) exhaust wraps cannot sustain 1800 degrees Fahrenheit continuous, instead they are designed to sustain operating temperatures of 1200 degrees Fahrenheit and take brief intervals of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 seconds or less. Anyone selling you a volcanic rock wrap telling you it can take 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, is just looking to get your money, not solve your problem.

Alternative to alternative to exhaust wraps, are an exhaust insulation jackets. Jackets are widely used in industrial, marine, and some heavy duty applications. Exhaust jackets are made to fit specific exhaust system. Exhaust jackets will cost more than exhaust wraps, but their installation is much easier and can eliminate up to 80 percent of heat radiating from an exhaust pipe. They can vary in thickness and materials but can take sustained temperatures of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heatshield Products Armor series as a hybrid between an exhaust wrap and custom made exhaust jacket. This is a versatile do it yourself exhaust heat shield system. It is easy to work with and can stop up to 70 percent of radiant heat from an exhaust system. With its outer aluminum layer it can also survive the elements and even pressure washing unlike most exhaust wraps. You can achieve a custom look like an exhaust insulation jacket without the 4 to 5 week lead time for fabrication.

Heat Shield Thermal Barriers - Heat shield barriers act as a thermal barrier to stop radiant heat. Most heat shield barriers are designed and tested to be placed 1 inch away from the heat source on the “hot side, i.e. underneath the floor pan, engine side of firewall, transmission side of trans tunnel, etc. The most common type of radiant barrier is aluminum combined with a fiberglass, silica, or ceramic insulation. Air gaps and air flow are huge factors when using a heat shield barrier. With the right combination of an aluminized barrier, air gap, and air flow, most aluminized fiberglass barriers are capable of reflect over 90 percent of radiant heat away. If the application has less than 1”of an air gap between the heat sources or has some direct contact points, these aluminized barriers are only good for temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and might only stop 50% or less of the radiant heat. Lava rock barriers (basalt) are another good product for reflecting radiant heat away. While basalt may not reflect as much heat as the aluminized heat barriers, they may perform more efficiently in applications with limited airflow. The ultimate heat shield barrier is the HP Sticky Shield, with a 0.125 inch thickness it will outperform any other stick on barrier in any environment.

**ALERT** Buyer Beware of some gold heat shield barriers! The market has been dominated by gold heat shield barriers have no textile combined with the Mylar foil. In fact, if you were to peel them apart, you would find some scrim for structural integrity and adhesive backing behind the shiny yellow Mylar. Mylar is the same stuff used for birthday balloons. Mylar alone can reflect some heat, but then again so can aluminum foil at a fraction of the cost. If you must have to have gold the gold insulation, please check out our Cold-Gold Shield™, or please seek gold with a fiberglass or other textile component to it. Without the textile you are putting on an expensive yellow sticker.

Foil stick on sound insulators are NOT also heat shield barriers. We don’t care what other sound simulation companies say, that claim defies the physical laws of our world. Thermal and acoustical are two different types of energy they require different physics and chemistry to combat them. Be extremely cautious when buying a sound insulator promising heat reduction. It may slow some heat transfer temporarily. It will not shield the heat away, that sound insulator would need to be put on the bottom side of the car with the foil directly facing the heat source. Something we do not recommend. Use two different solutions for the two different problems.

Remember, measure twice, cut once! Whether you use our products or another company's, we would like to see you get the problem solved the first time. So there you go, you are now ready to conquer your hot problems. Please visit the rest of our site for some very cool solutions! If you have more questions or need consulting, please contact us.