Scratch-Proof Your Car with These Remarkable Paints

Nothing ruins your day better than seeing your brand-new, freshly-waxed car splattered with small nicks and scratches everywhere. And it doesn't matter if they're small blemishes or superficial cuts. If you're on the obsessive side, the mere fact that your car's pristine and perfectly-applied paint has those scratches make it seem almost like a desecration of sorts. Worse is not finding the right paint to cover them up.

The good news is that there'll come a time when car scratches will be a thing of the past. Here are some car paint technologies that will make this possible:

Self-healing paint that loves the sun

How the self-healing coating works

In the not-so distant future, car scratches will just need one thing to lessen their existence: sunlight.

Made from polyurethane coating, the car paint heals its scratches by sunlight.

"We have developed a new macromolecule," said Marek Urban and Biswajit Ghosh who wrote the paper. "When the polymer is damaged and exposed to sunlight, it is capable of repairing itself, and could be applied to many systems."

Both Urban and Ghosh created the material utilizing 99.99 percent polyutherane found in soft foams and hard plastic. The added .01 percent is made from a common, natural substance found in nature: Chitosan. This tough material is closely related to chitin, a very strong material that makes up crab and shrimp shells.

Chitosan is placed on long rods together with oxetane rings. Once a paint gets scratched, the oxetane rings are ripped apart. Ultraviolet light enters the scratch, and also breaks apart the chitosan rods. Both of them bond with each other on the damaged area, covering the scratch until it's completely filled up. When left in the sun, the entire "healing" process happens in an hour.

The good thing about the paint is that it can work in many climates. It's very environmentally-friendly, since it uses renewable materials and reduces waste.

But here's the biggest seller: It's also cheap.

“It’s very economical,” Mark Urban said. “You can get chitosan for almost nothing.”

However, one drawback is that it can only repair itself on a specific area once. So if it gets scratched again, then it won't work.

Urban, however, doesn't worry too much about it.

“Even if you try to hit the same spot, within a couple of microns, statistically the chances of it happening are very small,” he said.

Protection Film with "Unstickable" Glue

Car's protection film

A film that always goes back to its natural shape may be the ticket to avoiding all those car scratches.

This material, known as Paint Protection Film (PPF), is made from Thermoplastic Urethane Protective Film that's created by the chemical giant Llumar (and employed by Reep Eastern). Its one main strength is its ability to return back to its form, thanks to the glue underneath that's always in a fluid state.

Ben Robinson of Reep Eastern says: “The paint protection film (PPF) is incredible. Its self-healing properties come from the film always returning to its natural shape.” The glue underneath the paint doesn’t harden, it stays in a fluid state which helps the film to recover from something such as a nasty scratch,” he says.

Also known as PPF, clear paint film, clear film, or clear bra, this highly-versatile material is also used in motorcycles, airplanes, electronic gadgets, cellphones, and many others. Many of them are installed at the front part of the vehicle, although it can also be installed on the car's entire body for maximum scratch protection.

Some car owners complain that these wraps eventually turn yellowish or opaque after a few years. Some also say that the plastic eventually dries out and become cloudy, with the edges creating a white buildup over time. However, car experts believe that these problems can be avoided if you choose good-quality films and certified PPF installers.

Technology is indeed a great thing. And with all these innovative solutions offered today, we're sure  scratch-proof cars will be dominating the busy streets of Metro Manila in the near future.

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