Look ma, no dirt!
As if waterborne paints weren’t enough, repairers may be called upon to deal with a completely new type of paint before very long – one that repels dirt, water and oil, and holds up even in such harsh environments as acid rain.
The new coating, called selfcleaning paint, is hydrophobic, which means it repels water, and oleophobic, which means it repels oil.
The good news for those wondering how they’re going to deal with the new paint if a car comes in which has been damaged and needs a re-spray, is that it’s not yet ready for mass production, although we expect it won’t be long before it finds its way onto production cars as it promises to be a great marketing tool for those who come out first with it.
The new paint was developed at the Nissan Technical Centre in the United Kingdom in conjunction with a nanotechnology firm called Nano Labs, and it’s currently undergoing testing on a fleet of Nissan Leaf electric cars.
“While there are currently no plans for the technology to be applied to Nissan vehicles as standard equipment, Nissan will continue to consider the coating technology as a future aftermarket option,” Nissan said in a press release.
The paint is known as nanocoating, and it’s created using nanotechnology, using particles of elements that are so small they have to be created in a laboratory.
Sounds pretty difficult, and it is, but once they HAVE been created they have unique properties, especially in their relationship to ordinary, particles.
Although nano-paints they have been used in other fields – for instance, to create a better sunscreen, or even clothing which repels pollution – Nissan is the first carmaker to see their possibilrties in the car industry.
Once these nanoparticles are created, they have some really unique properties – especially in terms of how they react with ordinary particles. They’ve been used to create clothing that can reduce air pollution on contact, and they’ve even been added to products like sunscreen.
Nissan is the first vehicle manufacturer to put a nano-coating on a car, though, and the automotive version of the paint is called UltraEver Dry.
The paint is based on coatings that are sold for industrial and commercial uses, for instance on buildings to prevent graffiti.
It works by minimising the surface area where water and dirt cling, which helps the water and other contaminants run right off. It happens at a level that can’t be seen, but the effects are definitely noticeable, and simply repels the types of contaminants that would make it need to be cleaned, such as water and oil.
Nissan says that its water-repellent properties will also prevent snow, ice and frost build-up by maintaining a layer of air between the top of the paint’s surface and whatever touches it – and Nano Labs says that its nanotechnology approach yields a less expensive product than other coatings that rely on surface tension.
Many of you will remember that this isn’t Nissan’s first foray into special paint – a few years ago the company introduced self-healing paint on some its cars. The paint remains pliable – not fully dry, but not so wet it comes off on your clothes – and if the car gets scratched, the paint flows into the scratch area.
Nissan says it takes several years before the paint loses it self-healing properties.