Researchers from the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology developed a new protective coating that can self-heal, making the scratches on a car disappear entirely using sunlight in almost 30 minutes.
People cannot avoid scratches on a vehicle unless they always keep it parked in a garage. Which, of course, doesn’t serve the purpose of purchasing one in the first place. So, a vehicle is bound to get a scratch or two (or more) from another car in a parking lot, a rock kicked up while driving, etc. In addition, deep scratches can damage the paint, expose the metal panel underneath, and increase the risk of rusting.
Therefore, protective coatings are available that can protect a car’s finish and reduce the risk of a deeper scratch. But, even these will show scratch marks that need buffing and more from professionals, which can become costly. Hence, researchers from the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology came up with a solution.
Self-Healing Protective Coating
Scientists and researchers have been developing self-healing protective coatings for a few years. However, they faced multiple hard-to-overcome hurdles and challenges. For instance, materials with malleable properties that can repair scratch marks are not that durable. Thus, making a car more prone to scratch marks. On the other hand, harder materials are less prone to scratches but exhibit less effective self-healing capabilities.
But, researchers from the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology overcame these hurdles. According to a reliable source, “they upgraded a highly durable protective resin coating with a reversible polymer network material based on acryl polyol and introduced a photothermal dye. The dye absorbs infrared light from the sun and turns it into thermal energy, which increases the surface temperature of the protective coating. The chemical bonds of the coating’s polymer structure react to the increased heat by dissociating and recombining again, slowly rebuilding the damaged polymer structure where a scratch occurred until it’s completely repaired and gone.”
Furthermore, the healing process of the protective coating accelerates under a high-intensity light source like a laser or magnifying glass. However, the researchers found that leaving the vehicle with scratch marks in the bright midday sun for half an hour can generate enough heat to heal the scratches completely. And even though they tested with a small model car treated with the protective coating, they claimed it would work on full-sized cars and other vehicles like boats and planes. But, the effectiveness and speed of the self-healing protective coating depend on several factors like the intensity of exposure to the sun and more.
To conclude, the new self-healing protective coating is a great way to minimize maintenance demands and costs. In addition, people can even use it on devices like smartphones. In any case, it will be wonderful to park a car in the sun for 30 minutes and go grocery shopping only to come back and find it shining like it’s brand-new!