One of the most common, and sometimes unavoidable, enemies of vehicle owners is the paint scratch. There are few things that will send someone into a tirade as fast as the first scratch on a brand new vehicle. Thankfully, one company out there may have found the solution to all those little annoying blemishes.
Scientists have developed new polyurethane exterior coating that will actually repair itself when exposed to direct sunlight. Obviously, there are limits to how often and how wide the new compound will be able to handle, but so far it has been able to hide those minuscule, and all too common, accidental blemishes.
The substance at work is called chitosan, which is found most often in the shells of crustaceans. When blended with the polymers that are used to paint vehicles, you have a self-repairing top coat. When a scratch allows ultraviolet light to directly contact the chitosan, it reacts by creating new bonds with materials close by. The final result is a scratch that is almost completely smooth and nearly invisible. According to Marek Urban of the University of Southern Mississippi, the process can take less than a hour in most cases.
Currently, only very thing scratches have been tested using the new compound. The team is planning on testing how wide of a scratch the coating will be able to handle. They have already filed for patents and are looking into commercializing their product. Reuters