SELF-HEALING PAINT: THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE?
For decades, professional painters and decorators have struggled to find paints which can resist wear and tear while retaining their colour over time.
While there is no doubt that modern paints such as those which boast a one-coat application and superior levels of coverage have come a long way, scientists have recently discovered a new application which may eventually find its way into the painting community.
A study conducted at the University of Reading has illustrated that a specific polymer has the ability to literally "repair" itself at room temperature if it is cracked, scratched or otherwise damaged. Although some plastics have been exhibited similar properties, these substances were generally toxic and the repairs could only be performed under very low temperatures. Things may be soon set to change.
A Futuristic Edge
Scientists have shown that when this adhesive polymer is cut, a type of polyurethane will literally "flow" into the hole and fill any gaps. It then binds together to become a solid with no visible differences to the original coating. As this substance is also not toxic to humans, we can appreciate the benefits that it could eventually offer the painting community as a whole.
Another interesting feature of this "super coating" is that scientists believe they can modify it to break down over time. This will all depend upon the needs of the customer.
Applications in Our Times
Analysts have observed that this could be a great type of paint for exterior surfaces that are normally prone to damage over time (such heat, cold and ultraviolet rays). So, it is clear to see that major commercial and industrial sites may benefit from the substance. Such a paint is also likely to be very popular within industries such as automotive painting and bridge coatings.
We should note that this substance has only just been discovered. Even if it can be produced on a large scale, it is unlikely that the average paint supply store will offer it any time soon. Cost is also an issue. Unless widespread availability is combined with relatively low prices, this revolutionary material may not apply to the average contractor.
Still, it is interesting to see what the future may hold for painters in two or three decades. Although probably not suited for the average home or garden, industrial and commercial applications could enjoy many benefits if this dream does indeed prove to become a reality.