researchers at the department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in The Netherlands have come up with a new car coating that will not only be able to “self-heal” but also “self-clean”. The team claims that the coating comes mixed with special “stalks” which allow the placement of functional chemical groups at their ends. This allows the surfaces to “develop” and re-orient themselves when the outer surface layer is expelled by scratching. This allows the coating to heal itself though the alleged “healing” takes place only in case of superficial scratches that don’t penetrate too deep within the finish of the car.
On the plus side, this coating also serving as a water-proof surface that allows the droplets of water to roll off easily along with the dirt. The highly water-resistant coat is thus able to clean itself as it is driven during a shower. This also means that the car can be cleaned even with a simple hosing off without putting in some major elbow grease to keep it sparkling. The coating is still being developed further and researchers point out that it could be used in other applications besides cars finishes to make contact lenses, solar panels, cellphone displays etc. self healing and self cleaning as well.
Airplanes coated with this finish would need repainting less often and it could also potentially improve their fuel efficiency by keeping their surfaces more aerodynamic. The hulls of ships coated with this finish could potentially become algae-resistant which would boost their performance as well. Sadly, the coating isn’t set to hit the market anytime soon and researchers suggest that it might still take 6-8 years to develop the coating and have it launched in the market. The good news, however, remains the fact that the developers expect it to be priced around the same range as regular scratch resistant coatings already available in the market.