How Do \”Self-Healing\” Paint Protection Films Work?
paint protection films dc


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Scratches on an otherwise perfect exterior can drive an auto enthusiast insane. But growing in popularity is a “magical” paint protection that allows vehicle-owners to remove scratches from their car with a splash of hot water. Now, a new technology called “self-healing” paint protection film offers a scientific way to erase paint damage to an automobile. 

To demonstrate the new technology, you could draw on the top of your car with a permanent marker or scratch it with a brass wire brush. Then, take a swab of wet cloth and wipe the stain or the scratch right off. Or alternatively, splash a cup of hot water on top of it and watch the remaining damage ‘disappear’. It’s enough to shock any car owner and find its way, at least, into the body shop industry for sale.

But how does self-healing paint protection work? There’s a simple explanation for that, and we’re breaking it down into step-by-step parts. Here’s a key to the automotive industry – how “self-healing” paint protection really works.

The new tech that “heals” scratches with hot water, a heat gun, or wet cloth is simple enough to explain. A piece of sheet metal is painted and wrapped with self-healing material. 

What “Self-Healing” Technology is Made Out Of

  1. A release liner 3mm thick
  2. An acrylic adhesive approximately 1.6mm thick, meant to bond the protective film to the car
  3. A second layer made up of 6mm polyurethane for energy absorption
  4. A final layer, one clear coat about 0.5mm thick

The acrylic adhesive has a stronger bond to the layer of film than to the car, so if you wanted to remove it from the body of the car, you could.

The second layer, the 6mm polyurethane, dissipates energy across its wider surface area and effectively keeps the paint from chipping. So if a flying object were to fall onto your car, it would send the energy outward and keep your coat of paint still shining. But since urethane is porous, it needs a final layer.

The topcoat is hard, but still capable of being stretched. With this hard, smooth top layer, the film becomes more environmentally steady, providing self-healing properties, chemical resistance, and oxidation resistance, preventing contaminants from entering the film and discoloring it. 

The final layer protects from pollen, diesel exhaust particulates, dust, and other road grime that may clog up the pores until the film would begin to discolor. 

How Does My Car Heal Itself?

Perhaps you’re still wondering how the car still heals itself from applied heat? 

First, understand that from a physical point of view, the chips or scratches in paint resemble differing surface rearrangements, rather than tears in the film of your paint. Even though the film can now withstand ample pressure without tearing, it could still be rent too deeply to heal (like a knife drawn through the film, for example).

When you scratch the surface with a wire brush, the surface film rearranges into a different shape. The film would like to return to its lowest energy state, but under cool temperatures keeps the form of the wire brush scratch. Adding heat induces the film to return to its lowest, flattest, state, appearing smooth and clear once again.

Ice Cube Analogy

You can almost think of self-healing paint protection like an ice cube. It’s not a perfect analogy, but if one scratches an ice cube and then heats it back up again, it returns to the original state it’s in. In a similar way, letting your self-healing technology sit on the top of your car in the sun will also heal the car from any paint scratches or dings it has received throughout the week.

And for those of you who are wondering – yes, this means you can take your car through an automated car wash and not worry about ruining your exterior. 

For a body checkup and much more, visit DCC Clear Auto Bra – your experts in paint protection, body polishing, and much more.