Although Tony Stewart had been under some pressure in the 2007 NASCAR season until he broke loose at the Chicagoland Speedway in July with his first victory, the guys in the garage of Joe Gibbs Racing have been getting some important information about the pressure between mating of surfaces through the use of a film called “Pressurex” from Sensor Products (www.sensorprod.com). According to Todd Bowland, an engineer with the team, “It is providing me with a solution that is easy to use, quick, and cost effective. It’s the only tool I have ever seen for actually observing the interface stresses between contacting or mating components.”
The film, a thin Mylar sheet which measures from 4 to 8 mils, or about the thickness of a sheet of paper, is capable of measuring pressure from 2 to 43,000 psi (or 0.14 to 3,000 kg/cm2). It is placed between the two surfaces, and when they are put under pressure, the film permanently changes color in a way that’s proportional to the amount of pressure.
Applications for the material include everything from engine gaskets to door fits.