A coating that enables engineers to specify lighter weight carbon composite materials for harsh environment applications has won the prestigious 2010 Plastic Industry Best Technology Application of the Year Award.
Zircotec’s plasma-sprayed zirconia-based coating protects composites from the effects of heat and abrasion in tough operating environments, opening up a new stream of materials to designers that offer performance with a weight advantage. Branded ThermoHold® for Composites, the Zircotec coating is being successfully used in F1 this year to allow 650°C exhaust gases to be routed through the car’s carbon fibre diffuser, but is increasingly finding applications in a broad range of other sectors from aerospace to carbon composite cycle wheels where it is used as a high performance braking surface.
“Zircotec is delighted to receive the recognition of such an important award,” says managing director Terry Graham. “We want to increase awareness of the opportunities our coatings offer to the plastics industry and this is a fantastic way to start engaging with the sector.” Zircotec’s coating is applied by the firm using a plasma spray process to a thickness of less than 500 microns. Carbon composite components can be coated with ceramic, aluminium, stainless steel and molybdenum to protect against temperature, wear or a combination of the two. Outside of motorsport applications, the coating is to be used on a forthcoming road car and a marine application.