Microscopically small ceramic particles provide a layer of protection
Remarkable advances in the area of nano-technology have allowed tiny ceramic particles – each less than a millionth of a millimetre in size – to be integrated into the molecular structure of the binding agent. These particles float around freely at first in the liquid clearcoat, before cross-linking as the drying process takes effect. The particles link in with one another in such a way as to create an extremely dense and smoothly structured network at the paint surface. This provides a protective layer and ensures that the new nano-particle clearcoat is considerably more scratch-resistant than conventional paintwork.
The effectiveness of the new technology was borne out by the results of an extreme test conducted in a laboratory car-wash according to DIN standards. The water used in the test contains a precisely measured concentration of fine particles and is spread over the paintwork by the rotating washing brushes, leaving behind scratches. After 10 wash cycles in the laboratory car-wash – reproducing the degenerative effect of some 50 to 100 regular car washes – the nano-painted sheet metal emerged with around 40 per cent greater gloss than samples with conventional clear lacquer.
Mercedes Benz is the world’s first vehicle manufacturer to offer this more scratch-resistant clear lacquer. Nano-particle clearcoat serves as an early indicator of the huge potential of nano-technology for the future, techniques which allow scientists to reach into and alter the atomic structure of materials. Indeed, it will also be possible to give materials in other areas of automotive development new properties which allow them to carry out particular functions. The term "nano-technology" is rooted in the Greek word "nanos", which translates as "dwarf". Scientists generally use the term to describe a billionth of a unit, one nanometre equating to a billionth of a metre.