NetComposites
Advanced Engineering 2018

Henkel Technologies and West McLaren Mercedes Join Forces in Formula One

25 June 2004

The new West McLaren Mercedes MP4/19 racing car now includes more than 90 adhesives and sealants from Henkel Technologies.

Henkel Technologies is an Official Supplier to West McLaren Mercedes with the Loctite brand that began in 1995. The new agreement puts more technologies and more know-how at the team's disposal.

As Official Supplier, engineers from Henkel Technologies work closely with designers from McLaren Racing to help them meet the extreme challenges that Formula One imposes on components and materials. To date, Henkel Technologies' puts 92 different applications to the test at every Grand Prix ranging from assembly of the car, additions to the engine and in the manufacture of the carbon fibre chassis itself.

The fuel flap mechanism which opens automatically when the speed limiter is engaged on entrance to the pit lane depends on Loctite 222 low-strength threadlocker. This is used to prevent the tie-rod end from vibrating loose and to guarantee that the fuel flap opens perfectly in preparation for the pit stop. Loctite 222 is totally vibration proof but allows for disassembly when the system needs to be dismantled and then reversed to suit left or right hand circuits.

Since the car is designed to maximize aerodynamic efficiency and performance, at the rear end of the car the exhaust is fitted very closely to the gearbox. To prevent any heat damage, titanium heat shields are bonded to the side of the gearbox using Loctite 5399 moisture-curing silicone adhesive/sealant, which resist high temperatures.

Adhesives allow the aerodynamicists to create new shapes that are then bonded together, since fastening parts with traditional mechanical methods could be problematic and difficult. Hysol aerospace adhesives are used extensively in the laminating and assembly of the carbon fibre composites to bond the outer carbon fibre layer to the underlying honeycomb elements for example - while Frekote mould release agents ensure that the carbon fibre components do not stick to the moulds in which they are formed.

Martin Whitmarsh, Managing Director of McLaren Racing, succinctly describes the philosophy of the racing team and the challenges of Formula One: ""If you want to win, you need the best car with the best engineering expertise. However, we ourselves are unable to cover the full bandwidth of all the technologies required to tackle our problems. That is why we need strong specialist partners who, through their experience, their products and their technologies, are able to support our drive for victory in Formula One. Therefore, our partnership with Henkel Technologies is very important to us.""






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