Innovative polymer: thus, scratches in the car disappear as if by magic

Special combinations of polymers and dyes activate the self-healing power with the help of solar radiation. They can better protect the surfaces of cars, smartphones and building materials and make scratches disappear.

The mixture of polymer and dyes enables self-regeneration under the influence of sunlight.

Photo: Panthermedia.net/kalinovsky

Car paint is like a protective layer. However, they can withstand mechanical forces or other influences only to a limited extent and there is a risk of scratching. Scientists are currently working on how to better protect the surfaces of vehicles. They rely on self-healing, which is said to be triggered by exposure to sunlight. Certain requirements are made of the material for such an additional protective layer: it must be colorless and transparent. After all, it should not cover the actual color of the car paint. In addition, self-regeneration must be possible, which severely limits the choice of materials. Since free-moving particles are essential for self-healing, then the lifetime is rather low. On the other hand, materials with particular hardness weaken in terms of their self-healing function.

Research team Jin Chul Kim, Young il Park and Ji-Eun Jeong of the Korean Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT) has succeeded in developing a transparent coating material that meets all the necessary properties. In preliminary tests, engineers were able to repair surface scratches within 30 minutes using solar radiation. They built a car model for this purpose. They applied the coating with a special spraying machine. They then exposed the car model to the midday sun for about 30 minutes. Then the scratch disappeared completely and the surface of the coating material was again intact.

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