car-finish.jpgScratches in a car’s finish are inevitable, no matter how one tries to be careful. That’s why car lovers will clamor for this new innovation by Dutch scientists at TNO Research.

In the past, a big scratch has equaled an expensive touch-up, or worse, a complete paint job requiring time in the auto shop and even more money. If ignored, rust might settle in.

But now, researchers at the Dutch institute TNO are perfecting what, to the car, is like the human skin, a protective layer with the capability to ‘repair’ itself after a cut or scratch.

Through the application of hot air to the spot where the car has been scratched, the finish liquefies and spreads itself out like new again. The re-mendable polymer finish is expected to be introduced onto the market in the near future.

A competing method still being tested in laboratories uses the addition of small clay particles to the finish. When a scratch is made to the finish, the particles come into touch with the humidity of the air, causing them to swell up and push the finish back into the grooves. PDF report available in Dutch at:

UCLA is another lab doing work on the problem, filing a patent this year for a method that uses heat to treat the breaks in polymer material and return the surface to its original appearance.

Nissan motors developed in 2007 a self-repairing finish that could return a car’s sleek appearance after minor scratch or buff marks from automatic car washes.

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