Heat is the enemy of just about everything in your car; unfortunately, heat is also the byproduct of just about every component in your car as well. When it comes to performance, reducing heat is a key factor to maximizing efficiency and increasing your vehicle’s speed and endurance. To that end, there have been a lot of companies and products created to get your money that make wild claims of reducing power-killing heat. But does it really work?
Street Tech Magazine’s 1962 Mercury Comet Wagon project has a lot of potential high-heat pitfalls, considering the two large turbos that hang off the front of the engine. This led us to Heatshield Products, who make all kinds of performance heat wraps and shields. One particular product caught our eye: HP Sticky Shield. This 1/8-inch thick fiberglass padding is backed with a .003-inch aluminum foil and the manufacturer claims it can reject up to 90% of radiant heat. Sticky shield is rated to 1100-degrees Fahrenheit, and installs with a simple adhesive backing on the fiberglass layer side. We put it to the test to see if HP Sticky Shield could really do what they say it can.
Our parameters are simple: put the product to the test in our studio with verifiable results. We set up a propane torch and stand, a small piece of 14-gauge steel, a vise and a square of HP Sticky Shield. To demonstrate the function of the material, we have a FLIR E60 thermal imaging camera.
The camera is positioned on the opposite side of the torch, so that the actual surface temperature of the panel is read, not the flame. The camera only provides Celsius readings. The camera takes both video and still shots, the videos are available on the website.
The panel is heated twice. First we heated the raw sheet metal panel. Once it has achieved its terminal or maximum temperature, the torch is shut off and the panel left to cool. Then the HP Sticky Shield was applied, and the torch was fired up in the same position as before. The torch stays on until terminal temperature is achieved.
Heatshield’s claims were pretty clear. The HP Sticky Shield will reject up to 90% of the radiant heat. The raw panel achieved 597 degrees Celsius after 90 seconds; this translates to 1106.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The flame side reached 670 degrees C, or 1238 F. This equates to the maximum rating for the HP Sticky Shield.
After the shield was installed, we ignited the torch and heated the panel to terminal temperature. The panel with HP sticky Shield measured just 92.9 degrees C, or 199.22 F. That is over 907 degrees variance, which is an 82% rejection rate. This was not radiant heat either; it was direct flame, which is conductive heat, and is more efficient for direct transfer of heat. The HP Sticky Shield did not melt, fall off or degrade in any way throughout the test. In fact, after the test, we tried to remove the adhesive layer for inspection, and it was stuck. The fiberglass layers will separate, but this is the nature of fiberglass. As long as it is left in place and not peeled apart, it is on for the duration.
Does it Work?
All you have to do is read the raw data to know that this stuff actually does what they say it does.