Parking a car in the middle of the road can stop being a concern, at least when it comes to scratches. Materials science develops new layers with which to protect the vehicle from high temperatures or use Sunlight to repair the body’s functioning itself Pollution caused by existing products used to repaint a damaged car can be avoided in a matter of minutes, avoiding minor unforeseen incidents.
Imagine you have a nice scratch on one of the doors of your vehicle, which is next to the neighbor’s. now imagine that That scratch is gone when you get to your destination When you were driving you were cured of incidents of sunlight. It sounds like magic, but once again it’s science influencing the automotive industry and other tech sectors like the smartphone market.
Striving for years to get the science of vehicle safety materials Balance between efficiency, sustainability and transparency, While materials with free molecular motion stand out for being very efficient at self-repair, others stand out for their rigidity and resistance over time, but some always limp where others stand, and vice versa.
A new project from the Korea Chemical Technology Research Institute is getting closer to that harmonic combination. They have developed a coating for Self repair damage with sunlight application And whose results largely meet all the conditions required by the industry. The research results were published in the scientific journal ACS Applied Polymer Materials.
put it in the sun
Self-healing polymers have been an attractive element for such use for a decade, but the scientific community has been reluctant to find the ideal formula for curing. The closest thing to animal skin. That is to say, the scratches go away on their own without relying on an aggressive external agent and that the material is inexpensive and compatible with other products, such as paint, that are commonly applied to cars.
The project presented by the Korean team approaches this treatment, according to their indications. Comfortable, cheap and durable self-repair, Dr. Jin Chul Kim, Director of Research, KRICT explains EurekAlert The technology developed uses cheap commercial polymeric materials and photothermal dyes. “It is expected to be widely used not only in automotive clear coats, but also in a variety of applications.”
To test the new mixture, the team sprayed a protectant on a lab-scale model car, leaving scratches on its part. After the scar disappeared Exposure to afternoon sunlight only for a period of 30 minutes.
How does this work?
The researchers added a network of polymers called barrier urea. Polymers have dynamic chemical bonds that break in response to stimulation, and then reset to its original layout, This is how scratches on the bodywork on the car are repaired.
In this case, the stimulus that acts as a trigger to start the repair process is the heat caused by sunlight. This is achieved by adding A transparent, organic photothermal dyeA variation of the inorganic material used in other projects that require more energy.
The dye allows the chemical bond to react Infrared light, a long-wavelength energy source that accounts for less than 10% of sunlight in the noon. The fact that the reaction does not require excessive use of energy prevents the vehicle surface from overheating. Other materials rely on concentrated UV lights or heat guns to repair the body.
fast and reusable
The team claims that their material outperforms other self-healing coatings by being faster as well as more efficient. For example, half an hour of treatment done by daylight can be accelerated, through the use of a magnifying glass, by applying focused light, and by reducing waiting times. only 30 seconds,
In addition to being fast, it also Has the ability to reproduce repeatedly in the same area, They don’t indicate how long it stays active, but it’s an advantage for users whose garage neighbors don’t know how to park and always get hits at the same point. The repetition of this regeneration is not present in self-repairing materials that use resin capsules that burst in the process and allow repair only in the damaged area.
Like most current coatings the protective layer is applied by spraying and since it is a transparent material, it does not affect the different paints and colors that each car manufacturer wants to use. The research team intends that its materials be used in transportation, in the manufacture and manufacture of electronic equipment such as computers or telephones.
In addition, these systems powered by natural energies such as sunlight are expected to contribute to Minimize the use of harmful organic solvents Due to which carbon is emitted into the atmosphere. Its current use in vehicles when repainting a car generates a large amount of pollution.