A heat shield blanket is a specialty textile that provides thermal insulation for applications ranging from aviation and aerospace to heavy equipment and defense. In the aviation industry, custom heat blankets are used with both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, including helicopters. For military aircraft, heat control is especially important because it reduces thermal signature, emitted thermal energy that can reveal an asset’s location. Yet, heat control is also important for civilian aircraft that need to keep high temperatures from affecting electronic components or mechanical structures. The thermal insulation that a helicopter heat blanket provides has other important benefits as well.
Heat Shield Blankets for Helicopters
For helicopter manufacturers, containing the thermal energy that is radiated through the fuselage helps to improve fuel performance and reduce emissions. To reduce drag on the tail boom, vortex generators are installed at the bottom of the fuselage, which may be made of aluminum and have an enclosed cylindrical structure. When exhaust is emitted from the helicopter’s engine, hot gases travel through the aluminum fuselage prior to their release. Because aluminum is a good conductor of heat, however, more than just exhaust gases and particulate matter escape.
Within the fuselage, a metal heat shield is installed near the point of combustion to reflect the radiated heat and increase the temperature of the exhaust. This causes the gases to burn more completely and the helicopter to consume less fuel. To contain heat within the fuselage, a heat shield blanket is wrapped around the heat shield and extends to the region about the vortex generators. Helicopter manufacturers can either buy heat blankets directly or source them form a second-tier or a third-tier supplier. Sometimes, the heat blanket is part of an aftermarket package that enhances overall performance.
Heat Shield Blanket Materials and Fabrication
A heat shield blanket typically consists of a silicone-coated fiberglass fabric or other heat-resistant cloth and high-temperature thread made of Kevlar or fiberglass. The thickness of a custom heat control product is typically a function of the application’s requirements, and thermal insulation with multiple layers of fabric may be used. Although a variety of converting technologies are available, water jet cutting combines speed and precision with freedom from paying for tooling or waiting for it to arrive. High-quality industrial sewing is also required to ensure a long-lasting heat blanket.
Custom heat shield blankets that are cut-to-length and expertly fabricated can reduce in-house costs and speed installation times. By contrast, an off-the-shelf solution such as a heat wrap or metal foil requires time-consuming labor and the installation of fasteners. Exhaust wrap is also subject to fraying while metal foils can tear. By contrast, a custom heat blanket is durable and can attach with snaps or use Velcro for a fully non-metallic solution that won’t rust. These specialty textiles come with built-in fasteners that are easy-to-attach but that are also removable to support maintenance operations.
Thermal Insulation for Aviation
Elasto Proxy manufactures custom heat shield blankets for the aviation industry and uses water jet cutting and industrial sewing to provide an expert solution. As a global supplier of sealing and insulation solutions, we are both AS9100D and ISO 9001:2015 certified. For civilian helicopters, we support the mission whether it’s news gathering, crop spraying, firefighting, law enforcement, passenger transport, private or business aviation, or emergency medical services. We are also a trusted defense contractor that can supply heat shield blankets for military helicopters that need a high angle of attack.
To learn more about fabrication capabilities and how we can help you, contact us.