Students in Car Painting Courses, Here’s How Self-Healing Paint Works on Cars

auto refinishing prep technician

Self-healing car paint may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but it’s reality. Japanese car manufacturer, Nissan, has introduced vehicles with self-healing paint in the past. However, they discontinued the technology in their vehicles in 2011. Although the technology sounds progressive and cool, it has a ways to go before being fool-proof enough to gain traction in the mass market.

Despite Nissan’s setback, companies are racing to the finish line to develop self-healing paint. According to Lux Research, over 300,000 patents have been granted for self-healing smart materials. With seemingly endless advances in automotive technology happening every year, it may not be long before self-healing paint returns and stays on the market.

Are you interested in automotive painting and refinishing? Read on to discover more about this unique paint you could end up working with in the future.

Auto Finishing Prep Technicians: Discover the Science behind Self-Healing Paint

Professionals with auto painting careers may be interested to know that there are two different types of self-healing paint technology. One is a low-tech version similar to what Nissan used for their vehicles. This type of self-healing paint contains highly elastic resin, which can expand under UV rays and heat. When the paint is exposed to these elements, it begins to expand and fill in any small scratches and cracks in the paint.

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Elastic resin and microspheres are technologies involved in self-healing paint

The more scientific approach to self-healing paint uses microspheres that are full of unreactive and uncured resin. When the car is damaged in an accident or when it comes into contact with something abrasive, the jolt causes the microscopic spheres in the paint to pop. When they pop, the resin and paint contained inside of them are released and spread out into the damaged area of the paint to patch things up.

Challenges to Overcome Before Self-Healing Paint Can Be Used in Auto Painting Careers

As a student in auto refinishing prep technician training, you may be thinking that self-healing paint sounds too good to be true. In some ways, it is. In fact, it’ll need more than a few upgrades in order to be feasible. The technology faces several obstacles that bar it from working perfectly.

First, the paint is hard to work with. Professional automotive painters say it’s almost impossible to create a perfect finish with, because it leaves swirl marks on the car. In addition to the application of the paint not looking perfect, the repair process doesn’t leave a seamless finish. After the paint self-repairs, it is usually still easy to spot where the scratch was. Although cosmetically this is a drawback, self-healing paint at least helps to prevent moisture from getting into the crack and causing corrosion damage.

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The area where paint self-heals is still noticeable after the scratch is gone

In addition to these visual drawbacks, there are several practical drawbacks that could cause car buyers to steer away from the product. The first is that the paint is only good for about three years before it needs to be redone. This could end up being far more expensive for your clients than getting their vehicle’s scratches touched up every several years. The second drawback is that once the self-healing process occurs in an area, it can’t happen again. So if drivers get multiple scratches in the same area, the paint will only heal those scratches the first time they happen.

Are you interested in enrolling in car painting courses?

Contact an advisor at Automotive Training Centres to learn more!

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