Car Scratches could be a thing of the past- Chitosan's magic

17/03/2009 - 18:40 | ,  ,  ,  ,   | Harish Kumar

Car scratches could be a thing of the past if what these scientists have come up with finds its way on car bodies. They have come up with an innovative special coating that self-heals. You heard it right - It will self-heal when it is exposed to sunlight.

This can make scratch-free cars a reality as they can be incorporated with the conventional polymers already in use to protect metallic paints. The invention comes from a team at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg who have developed the polyurethane coating using 'Chitosan', a biological substance found in the exoskeletons of Crustaceans such as crabs and shrimps.

Under exposure to Ultraviolet light, found in abundance in sunlight, the Chitosan produces a chemical chain that immediately bonds to other elements of the polymer chain. This means that any gap in the paint (which means a scratch) will be gradually healed by virtually exposing it to sunlight. Only that the process will be a bit slower than polishing.

Unfortunately, there is a downside to it - The compound works only once and if there are more scratches on the same place again, it will not be able to re-heal. Under testing, it is said that razor blade-sized scratches were healed within an hour of being scratched. The scientists responsible for these studies insist that the new coating uses readily available materials and they are already considering commercial applications.

This should go a long way in repairing minor scratches especially in India where such things are very common.

Source : Autocar UK

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