Simple coating to keep you car clean for ages

July 20th, 2012 - 11:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Amsterdam, July 20 (IANS) Researchers have developed a new coating that has many potential applications - keeping your car and mobile phones clean for ages and aircraft that need less frequent repainting.

Functional coatings, for example with highly water-resistant or antibacterial properties, have at their surface nano-sized molecular groups that provide these specific properties.

But these molecular groups are easily and irreversibly damaged by minor contact with their surface (such as by scratching), quickly causing their properties to be lost, the journal Advanced Materials reports.

Catarina Esteves of the department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology and her colleagues have now found a solution, according to an Eindhoven statement.

The solution will make possible a self-cleaning car, with a highly water-resistant coating that keeps this self-cleaning property for long periods. Superficial scratches will be self-repaired and the water droplets simply roll off the car, taking dirt with them. An occasional rain shower is all that’s needed to keep the car clean.

In the same way, products like mobile phones, solar panels or even aircraft will remain clean for a longer time. For aircraft, a cleaner surface means less air resistance, which in turn reduces fuel consumption.

Other applications are contact lenses that self-repair their scratches, and coatings that resist the formation of algae, which is an advantage for ships. A limitation of the new technology is that it only works with superficial scratches that do not completely penetrate the coating.

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