Researchers develop car coating that can self-heal scratches in sunlight
Researchers at the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT) have created a transparent coating material for vehicles that can self-heal in 30 minutes when exposed to sunlight. The findings of the research were pulished in the ACS Applied Polymer Materials journal. While the typically available protective coating for vehicles come with excellent durability, is transparent and colourless so as to preserve the product's original colour, it offers poor self-healing performance. However, that's not the case with the newly developed self-heal coating.
The one created by the researchers at KRICT is durable and transparent as well as can self-heal within 30 minutes using sunlight, particularly near-infrared light in sunlight, in the wavelength range of 1,000 to 1,100 nm. This can led to self- healing of scratches on vehicles.
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In order to test the transparent coating, the research team used a spray-coating machine to coat a laboratory-scale model car. Post the applicating of the self-healing coat, the scratch on the vehicle completely vanished and the surface of the coating material was restored in about 30 minutes of being exposed to midday sunlight.
The technique used in the self-healing car coating is that the surface temperature of the developed material increases when sunlight is absorbed because light energy is transformed into thermal energy. This leads to repeated dissociation and recombination of chemical bonds in the polymer structure which is enabled by the elevated surface temperature and it ultimately results in self-healing of a surface scratch.
The research team plans to use this self-healing material as coatings for building materials, electronic devices such as computers and smartphones, as well as transportation applications. Additionally, use of less harmful organic solvents, which are produced in significant amounts when repainting vehicles, is expected to help achieve carbon neutrality.
(with inputs from ANI)