belly pan material - Ford Mustang Forums : Corral.net Mustang Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 05-14-2017, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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belly pan material

I'm going to ask this, fully aware that this might very well be the dumbest question anyone has ever asked in the road race forum, but here goes. Is it remotely feasible to build something like an embroidery frame or maybe a quilting frame to hold tyvek in enough tension for it to function as a belly pan? the melting point is 275f and autoignites at 750f.

if the melting point were any lower i wouldn't even ask, but 275. has me at least entertaining the idea. however after several fruitless minutes looking at google, I'm leaning toward "so dumb that even the craziest people on the internet haven't tried it."

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post #2 of 17 Old 05-15-2017, 10:00 AM
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I dont know anything abou that material, but i do want to make a front and rear belly pan one day, I was thinking very thin plywood or sheets of aluminum up front and aluminum in the rear. Obviously if its around hot exhaust it has to be temp resistant.


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post #3 of 17 Old 05-15-2017, 10:27 AM
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are you looking to catch liquids or prevent debris from hitting the oil pan? if its the latter-use 1/8" aluminum.
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post #4 of 17 Old 05-16-2017, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
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are you looking to catch liquids or prevent debris from hitting the oil pan? if its the latter-use 1/8" aluminum.

neither actually, I was thinking more about trying to limit the amount of air entering the engine bay.

tyvek is the stuff that usps uses for some of their envelopes, the ones that are frustratingly resistant to being torn open. It is primarily used as a house wrap that goes between the sheeting and the siding. Supposedly very good for that because it helps prevent air leaks but will still let water vapor out.
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post #5 of 17 Old 05-17-2017, 01:41 PM
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It'll last one lap, if that.
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post #6 of 17 Old 05-17-2017, 03:07 PM
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why are you wanting to prevent air from entering the engine bay from the bottom? is your oil not getting hot enough? thats about all you are going to accomplish unless you were balls deep into racing and were doing a flat bottom.

im lost on what the reasoning is to do this?
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post #7 of 17 Old 05-18-2017, 08:38 AM
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Seems to me that it's going to flutter no matter how tight you stretch it. This isn't intended to flat-out discourage the idea; simply provoke a little more thought.

Problem #1 - how far away from those hot things again?
Problem #2 - what's that flutter going to do to aerodynamic drag?


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post #8 of 17 Old 05-18-2017, 10:15 AM
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why are you wanting to prevent air from entering the engine bay from the bottom? is your oil not getting hot enough? thats about all you are going to accomplish unless you were balls deep into racing and were doing a flat bottom.

im lost on what the reasoning is to do this?

drag reduction would be my guess

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post #9 of 17 Old 05-19-2017, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, drag reduction was the idea.
I was trying to think of a material that would be light, cheap and easy to replace or repair if it gets damaged and tough enough to withstand the environment.
I ask myself questions like this with a self imposed restriction that the answers I've already seen others use are out of bounds. It's usually just a mental exercise I do at night right before I go to sleep.
So I thought of tyvek, it's very light, so cheap that usps will give you envelopes made from tyvek for free, how easy to replace would depend on the mechanism used to hold it in place, so that leaves the question of. is it rugged enough. I suspect that Mfe and Norm are both probably right, that it would flutter and that would destroy it in short order.

I even thought about controlling flutter by sandwiching the tyvek between two pieces of lightweight wire mesh like the wire safety mesh in some windows, but that would add a lot of weight and probably just shred it faster.

Like I said. I know it's a crazy thing to propose. but I admit I was enamored with how cheap and light that theoretical belly pan would have been.
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post #10 of 17 Old 05-19-2017, 07:17 AM
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Nothing wrong with doing a little thinking that's "out of the box" . . .


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post #11 of 17 Old 05-19-2017, 10:06 AM
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Yeah, drag reduction was the idea.
I was trying to think of a material that would be light, cheap and easy to replace or repair if it gets damaged and tough enough to withstand the environment.
I ask myself questions like this with a self imposed restriction that the answers I've already seen others use are out of bounds. It's usually just a mental exercise I do at night right before I go to sleep.
So I thought of tyvek, it's very light, so cheap that usps will give you envelopes made from tyvek for free, how easy to replace would depend on the mechanism used to hold it in place, so that leaves the question of. is it rugged enough. I suspect that Mfe and Norm are both probably right, that it would flutter and that would destroy it in short order.

I even thought about controlling flutter by sandwiching the tyvek between two pieces of lightweight wire mesh like the wire safety mesh in some windows, but that would add a lot of weight and probably just shred it faster.

Like I said. I know it's a crazy thing to propose. but I admit I was enamored with how cheap and light that theoretical belly pan would have been.

Id say sheets of aluminum from home depot would work, or super thin plywood.

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post #12 of 17 Old 05-20-2017, 07:11 PM
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How about attaching the Tyvek to a piece of plastic mesh used in landscaping. Have no idea what the heat resistance is but that mesh is very light and may add the rigidity need to keep the Tyvek from flapping.
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post #13 of 17 Old 06-06-2017, 01:05 PM
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I'm curious if you could get this to work. Tension and creep from heat exposure would be a problem. Some polymers are "thermosets" and won't creep at high temperatures. But they may be too brittle.

What I would like to see are people's solutions to mounting belly pans across wide areas of the undercarriage. Looking at mine, I see a lot of areas where there would be pretty large, unsupported spans of aluminum. Getting it secure and stiff enough so the bolt holes don't wobble and open up could be challenging.

For anyone with their own, are you adding reinforcement to the sheet aluminum and adding a lot of mounting tabs to the undercarriage?

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post #14 of 17 Old 06-06-2017, 02:15 PM
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i think the flapping of whatever non solid material you use vs. any aero gain would go in the opposite direction you are looking to achieve and create more drag.
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post #15 of 17 Old 06-06-2017, 02:36 PM
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↑↑↑ my thought exactly.


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post #16 of 17 Old 06-07-2017, 02:34 PM
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What about corrugated plastic, that stuff that semi permanent signs are made of. It's rigid, light, free at recycling centers, not very heat resistant.

I would use thin aluminum, if you were close to me I would give you some. We have a coil of thin yet high strength aluminum at work that we have no use for.

From the front of the car to behind the engine is a good place to start. Then small wings in front of the axle to direct air under the suspension, followed by a rear pan so the rear bumper is not a sail.

Tires account for close to 30% of aero drag, add spats or covers for those for a big bang for the buck. Look up hyper MPG cars if slippery aero works for them it will also work for track cars as long as you are not trying to add downforce.
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post #17 of 17 Old 06-07-2017, 04:21 PM
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Tires account for close to 30% of aero drag, add spats or covers for those for a big bang for the buck. Look up hyper MPG cars if slippery aero works for them it will also work for track cars as long as you are not trying to add downforce.
Hypermilers don't particularly care about brake cooling. For them it's wasted energy. For us out on the track it's got more to do with getting slowed down in the room we've found to be sufficient regardless of any overall energy balance equation. And be able to do exactly that every time.


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