Paint looks its best when it has been polished to perfection. Daily wear and tear, however, present a major challenge, with dirty roads and weather conditions diminishing the shine. Help is on its way. UltraTech International sent a Nissan Note, coated with “Ultra-Ever-Dry” nanopaint onto a mogul slope riddled with deep potholes and mud holes. The special nano structure creates a protective layer of air between the paint and the environment, effectively repelling mud, rain, and other dirt from the surface. This means the cars doesn't have to go into the car wash very often, which would only dull the shine of the paint long-term anyway. But what about scratches caused by careless drivers or vandals? Leading paint manufacturers like Akzo Nobel, BASF Coatings AG and DuPont Performance Coatings are feverishly searching for the answer.
Modern paints already contain nano particles to boost scratch resistance. If damage causes the surface structure to tear, microampules in the paint would also tear, releasing a substance that seals up the scratches in the paint. However, this mechanism has not been successfully reproduced. Researchers at Saarland University have a solution: Corn-based paint. The beaded structure of the molecules enable them to converge within days, repeatedly sealing up scratches and tears. Perhaps one day the paint will even be able to notify drivers if there's a bubble or scratch in the paintwork, or even complain about bird droppings or tree gum.