The self-healing coating can remove scratches on the car with the help of sunlight

A self-healing protective coating applied to a car model.

“Self-healed surface of a car model after being scratched when exposed to focused sunlight with a magnifying glass (top) or direct sunlight (bottom).”
Image: Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT)

As a screen protector for your entire car, a new protective coating developed by researchers in Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology in fact, it can go a step further than your plastic films Apply To yours smartphone display. When exposed to the sun, it can heal itself, making the scratches disappear completely just for half an hour.

Unless you keep it parked in a garage all the time, getting a scratch on your vehicle is inevitable; be it from another vehicle in a parking lot or a rock kicked up while driving on the road. There are protective coatings help protect the vehicle’s finish and minimize the risk of a scratch going deep enough to damage the paint, expose the lower metal panel and increase the risk of rust, but even a protective finish will show scratch marks that either need to be buffed out or repaired by a professional with the right tools.

For those who want to keep their vehicle looking as pristine as the day it rolled off the dealership lot, but without putting any effort or money into its maintenance, self-healing protective coatings have been made in development for several years, but with some challenges that were difficult to overcome. Materials that exhibit malleable properties to facilitate repair of scratch damage are also not very durable, so the vehicle would actually be more susceptible to being scratched more often, while harder materials are less susceptible to damage. also exposed less effective self-healing tendencies when the physical impact is severe enough to cause a visible scratch.

Researchers from Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology came up with a the best of both worlds. They upgraded the highly durable protective resin coating with a reversible acrylic polyol-based polymeric mesh material, as well as introducing a photothermal dye. The paint absorbs infrared light from the sun and converts it into heat energy, which increases the surface temperature of the protective coating. The chemical bonds of the coating’s polymer structure respond to the increased heat by dissociating and then recombining again, slowly repairing the damaged polymer structure where the scratch occurred until it is completely repaired and gone.

The Science Behind Self-Healing Automotive Coating

“Self-healing mechanism of an environmentally friendly protective coating material for vehicles including dynamic polymer network and photothermal dye.”
Image: Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT)

The healing process can be accelerated by using a high-intensity light source such as a laser or by using the old-school magnifying glass, but testing with a small model car treated with the coating found that simply leaving the car with visible damage in broad daylight sun for about 30 minutes generates enough heat to completely heal the scratches.

The effectiveness and speed of the healing process depends on several factors, including the intensity of sun exposure, but the researchers are confident that it can be used not only on full-size cars, but also as a way to protect other vehicles such as boats and aircraft, while minimizing maintenance requirements. And yes, it can even be applied to devices like smartphones, so the next time your device falls to the pavement and leaves with scars to remind you of clumsiness, you can just leave it on the windowsill for a while and come back to a device that looks like new.