Scientists show off car paint that can heal itself
13th Mar 2009 | 08:43
Invention inspired by the shells of crabs
Scientists have developed self-healing paint for cars - meaning less evidence of those times when that gatepost looked like it was miles away as you reversed past it.
The polyurethane coating that has been developed harnesses the sun's rays (or more accurately the ultraviolet radiation) to knit back together and keep your paintwork pristine.
The idea of using a ring of 'oxetane' molecules apparently came from crabs, which use the material to heal their shells when cracks appear.
The ring, when broken, exposes two reactive ends which are activated by the sun, releasing chitosan which link the reactive areas.
Of course, it isn't just cars that could benefit - with suggestions that the development could be used in a wide range of other products including biomedics and clothing.
"An ideal automotive coating would mend itself while a vehicle is driven," said developers Dr Marek Urban and Biswajit Ghosh, from the University of Southern Mississippi, in a report in the journal Science.
"Because cross-linking reactions are not moisture sensitive, dry or humid climate conditions will not affect the repair process."