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Innovations in Automotive Paint

Published on September 18, 2014 by in Blog, CATI

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From the $63,000 paint jobs for lucrative supercars to the more reasonably priced paint jobs done in auto shops today, it is needless to say that for many, the paint makes the vehicle. Supercars lead the way in terms of risqué paint jobs, with vehicles such as the TRON Lamborghini Aventador donning a purple base with orange angle outlines. While these cars are top of class in design, there are also some practical auto paint innovations seen on the market these days.

Standards of Automotive Painting

It is important to learn the necessities of automotive painting in auto mechanic school, since paint may be damaged in an accident and require repair. Certain auto body shops will specialize in auto painting and detailing. Automotive detailing is the restoration of a vehicle’s paint after it has faded, been scratched or otherwise tainted in some way. Before we get into all the interesting things being done with auto paint done today, let’s look at painting basics:

  • Primer
  • Basecoat
  • Clearcoat

If you are repainting an old car, the old paint must be stripped before a new primer can be applied. The layers of paint are generally applied using a spray gun. Primer is first added to protect against corrosion and allows the base coat to stick. Basecoats are divided into the many different types of effects they give, with solid, metallic and pearlescent the most common today. The clearcoat is then added last as a glossy finish which is durable enough to survive weather conditions.

Flames and Chrome Hot Rod

Paint Innovations

In auto training school, you may notice that most cars on the streets and in shops today stick to neutral colours like white, silver and black. There is a reason for this. Popular colours of the 1960s like orange, green and bright blue lacked the depth and luster that today’s neutral paints have. This swirling depth that gives the effect of a fast-moving car is thanks to mica-based effect paint. Buyers are more likely to buy these colours because they maintain their lustre even after 5-6 years’ use, meaning better resale opportunities. Due to recent innovations in clearcoating, cars can now get a clearcoat with a matte finish, like the Mercedez Benz S Class.

Vehicles like the customized Tesla S recently lighting up the blogosphere have been experimenting with some more outrageous paint jobs. This vehicle uses bioluminescence to appear black in the daylight, and at night glow like a jellyfish. U.K. paint shop Auto Kandy has produced a heat-sensitive paint which is black in cooler weather and turns red in the heat. These paints are purely stylistic and may not have a long lifetime, but they are certainly inventive.

Nissan Paint

Nissan has invented a paint called the Ultra-Ever Dry, a super hydro-phobic paint which deflects water and oil. Since oil and water are the requirements for dirt to stick onto a vehicle, this makes the vehicle self-cleaning.  Nissan has been experimenting quite a bit with paint technology these days, because a few years ago the company also released cars with “self-healing” paint. The paint is made with chitosan, the same exoskeleton component as crustaceans. If there is a scratch, the chitosan reacts with UV sunlight and binds the scratch back together.

Here’s a look at Nissan’s self-cleaning car paint in action!

 
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