4 Things to Know About Heat Shields & Thermal Management

Heat has always been an issue in and around engines. Over the last few years, heat has increased significantly in these areas such that engineering teams need to include provisions for thermal management in their designs.

In comparison to many other technologies, heat shields are a relatively new concept. They have begun to be used regularly over the last few years, but are still new enough to not yet be the norm for everyone. If you’re still learning more about this technology, we invite you to continue reading.

Here at Metal Tech Industries, we are proponents of embossed heat shield materials. They are lightweight, easy to manufacture and provide 4x the stiffness compared to flat sheets. All of the information below is based on using embossed sheets.

Why Heat Shielding?

1. It can be done relatively inexpensively. 

When you hear the term “heat shield”, you may envision a large expensive piece added to your design. While there is a need for shielding such as this, there are also other ways to protect sensitive components from heat. First, does a gasket stand between the heat source and your sensitive components? If so, you may elect to use a gasket with insulative properties that will reduce the heat conduction. Second, you can hand-form your own heat shields. With the right materials, you can effectively reduce the heat flow. If the gaskets don’t offer enough protection or the volume is too large to manually form shields, you’ll need to look at shields formed by automation.

2. You can see a significant temperature reduction.

It doesn’t take much to see a significant drop in temperature. Using only one layer of embossed aluminum as a heat shield results in a 66% reduction in temperature. If you increase that to two layers, it can jump to an 83% reduction in temperature. That’s some serious protection!

3. They aren’t one-size-fits-all. 

The type shield you select can be customized to your specific needs. Standard options range from one layer to three layer designs. Adding layers adds additional temperature and noise reduction. Once you know your source temps and design parameters, you can find the shield design that works best for you.

4. Shielding can be very lightweight. 

If you are concerned about the weight that a shield will add to your application, embossed is the way you want to go. You can achieve the same stiffness by using a 0.5mm embossed sheet vs a 2mm blank (flat) sheet.

Making the Decision

If heat is a concern in your application, there are various ways to successfully achieve the level of thermal management required. If you aren’t sure where to start, talk with your trusted heat shield supplier to talk through your applications and your options. It may be as simple as changing a gasket, but you also may need to engineer a solution to fit into your application.

How often is thermal management a concern to you?Heat Shield Comparison

Forming Your Own Heat Shields? Learn the Differences Between Embossed Sheets and Flat Sheets.

We’re going to switch gears this week and discuss a topic that is near and dear to some of our readers – thermal management and heat shielding. Sometimes, utilizing a proper construction, your gasket can provide what you need in an application as far as thermal management is concerned. However, other times you will need a formed heat shield.

Similar to the variety you find in gasket materials, you will see that you have choices in what you select for your thermal management/heat shielding needs. One of the top questions that we get asked is “what is the benefit of using an embossed sheet over a flat sheet?” If this is the very reason that you stumbled upon this blog, you’re in luck. Keep reading.

Why Embossed?

1. Material content

The embossment structure provides 4x the stiffness vs. a flat sheet. This allows a thinner metal to be used to retain the same stiffness, allowing for lighter weight and lower material cost.

2. Structure

The embossment feature provides depth to a 2-dimensional design. As a single-layer, it provides a stand-off from touching surfaces. As a multiple-layer, it provides for an air-gap to prevent layers from full contact.

3. Design

Embossment provides unlimited design potential. The embossment pattern allows for easier forming than with flat sheets as some forming has already been started across the sheet. It also allows for a smoother transition in forming shapes as the rough corners and problem areas are minimized.

4. Noise reduction

Embossed is quieter than a flat metal shield. The 3-dimensional structure of the embossed sheet helps to disrupt sound waves that are reflected and transmitted. It also provides reduced vibration and reverberation as found with flat sheet designs.

5. Appearance

Embossment provides a more uniform appearance across the shield which is more appealing than a flat piece with rough corners. This provides a more professional look.

Take a Look

If you have any questions about embossed sheets and the advantages of working with them, please don’t hesitate to talk to a trusted supplier to learn more. Embossed metal products are designed for forming into heat shields using production tooling or hand-fabrication. Individually sold sheets can be the right solution for you to build a custom formed heat shield made exactly for your application that will provide performance to match even the best production designs.

Until next time!embossed-sheet-comparison

If embossed metal is what you have been looking for, MTI offers these sheet products in aluminum and stainless steel material options so that prototypes and small quantity pieces can be easily built by hand for validation and product development. We’ll be glad to work with you on this development and can carry it through to a production part as needed.