Self-Healing Paint?

Something tells me that this new innovation isn’t going to fix the big ol’ scrapemark in our car from the battle of my wife vs. the parking garage column, but nevertheless…

Scientists have created a polyurethane topcoat-like material for automobile paint (and other stuff, I assume?) that heals itself for the most part under ultraviolet light – you know, the NINJA of the world of light wavelengths.  The principle is really interesting.  By utilizing a chemical called chitosan, found in the shells of crabs and shrimp, a protectant film has been created that bonds with nearby molecules when exposed to UV light.  It’s been tested on very thin scratches so far, but the results have been positive.  The researchers are looking at how wide the scratches can be in order to still heal with the chitosan.

I did find a small video of chitosan working to heal itself.  Check it out:

According to a Reuters article, the material only works in the same place once – after a scratch is repaired, you better not scratch it there again!

Thanks, New Scientist and Reuters!