Self-"healing" car paint
An interesting development in automotive paint finishes, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald via Drive.com.au:
Paint scratches that fix themselves
By Julian Rendell
A German company has come up with car paint that 'heals' itself if it's scratched.
Scratches in your car's paint could be a thing of the past, thanks to a new self-healing coating developed in Germany.
The heat of a sunny day is enough to get the clear coating to "flow" so small scratches and cracks magically disappear from the paintwork.
Scientists at German paint maker Bayer have come up with the clear polyurethane lacquer, called 2K-PUR Clear Coat.
All car paintwork relies on a super-thin coating of lacquer to protect the coloured paint applied to the body-panels.
Bayer says the new lacquer is revolutionary because it is hard enough to resist nasties such as acid spills and bird droppings but soft enough to repair itself.
Usually coatings have to be hard to resist acid, which means they scratch when attacked by grit in an aggressive car wash or an Australian dirt road.
"The self-healing ability means fewer scratches occur in the car wash and those that do are small, self-healing blemishes," says research chief Dr Markus Mechtel.
The coating has been tested over a temperature range of plus 70 degrees and minus 30 degrees Centigrade (plus 158 degrees and minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit), which should cover most of Australia's weather conditions.
It also resists salt water, tree sap and bird droppings.
Bayer's paint tests include a car wash that grinds quartz sand into coated body panels that also bake under 6kW lamps in a humidity of 100 per cent, while an acid mixture is sprayed into the mix for good measure.
When self-healing paint was put through this test, it lost 30 per cent of its shine but then recovered another 20 per cent when subjected to "longer heat phases".
The next challenge is to find a way of getting the self-healing process to work in the cold.
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