Scratches are some drivers’ worst nightmare. I don’t really care about them (unless they’re ginormous, I can live with several minor scratches on my car), but I’ve seen people going crazy once they spotted a scratch on their beautiful new car. However, thanks to the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, we won’t have to worry in the future about our car’s paintwork. Because a team led by Dr Marek Urban came up with a ’self-healing’ coating that repairs scuffs or blemishes on paint when exposed to sunlight.
I was never great in chemistry, so here’s exactly how this stuff works: “The coating is a polyurethane – a material used in plastics, foams and films – containing chitosan, a chemical produced in the shells of crabs, lobsters and shrimps, and organic compounds called oxetanes arranged in rings. When the coating is scratched, the rings of oxetane are broken to expose chemically reactive sites. Ultraviolet light splits open the chitosan molecules exposing another set of reactive sites. The oxetane and chitosan attract each other, bond and close the scratches.” And here’s a photo that illustrates it:
So, apparently, after only 15 to 30 minutes (depending on the sunshine), your car’s paintwork will be exactly the same it was when you bought it. However, there’s also some bad news. The process only works once, if you get scratches in the same place you had another one that ‘healed’, it won’t work the second time. Like I said, I’m no chemistry genius, but I wonder why? I mean, like that it’s kinda useless.