The World Premiere Of A New Innovative Nano-Particle Clearcoat | Part Three

The Innovative Nano-Particle Clearcoat


The technology behind innovative nano-particle clearcoat
Microscopically small ceramic particles in the paint structure provide protection against scratches
  • Nano-particles in the binding agent form a densely cross-linked network
  • Greatly improved protection against paintwork scratches in car-washes
  • New technology passes extreme tests in the laboratory and under everyday conditions with flying colours
The paintwork on the latest cars consists of several exceptionally thin layers, which each fulfil different tasks. The complex painting procedure begins with the phosphating process, in which the car body is sealed in an extremely fine but highly effective zinc phosphate coating. This protects the sheet metal from corrosion and at the same time forms a sound basis for the cataphoretic dip priming – whose primary function is also to provide a shield against corrosion – which is next to come. Here, the car body is submerged in a tank of water-thinnable paint, which coats every cavity, corner, groove and edge through an electrophoretic reaction. Together, phosphating and cataphoretic dip priming form a layer only some 22 micrometres thick.

Now it’s time for the filler, likewise water thinnable and containing only a small quantity of organic solvent. Its job is to absorb the impact of small stones and to even out the metal structure. The paint particles are electrostatically charged by high-speed rotational atomisers, causing them to be pulled towards the body. This process ensures that the layer of filler, which is some 25 micrometres thick, is distributed evenly.

The next layer of paint is the base coat (approx. 15 micrometres thick), which contains not only the customer’s choice of colour in pigment form but also, if a metallic finish has been ordered, the tiny aluminium flakes which provide the elegant metallic effect. As with the filler, an electrostatic charge increases the effectiveness of the paint application in this process as well. The base coats used by Mercedes Benz are water-soluble and contain as much as 80 per cent less organic solvent than conventional paint finishes.

The top layer (approx. 40 micrometres thick) is formed by the transparent clear lacquer, which provides the gloss and weatherproof properties of the paintwork. This lacquer is put under particular stress in the everyday life of a passenger car, having to withstand environmental elements such as acid precipitation, tree resin, bird droppings, dust and soot, as well as a considerable physical battering – from stone chipping, sunlight, abrasion and fluctuations in temperature, among other factors.

continues... | Part Four
Published 4 December 2003 Melanie Carter

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