New material self-heals when exposed to sunlight

New material self-heals when exposed to sunlight

A clear protective coating material that can self-repair in 30 minutes when exposed to sunlight was developed by South Korean researchers. The discovery was published on the supplementary cover of the May 2022 issue of the magazine ACS Applied Polymer Materials.

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Although the self-healing functions with photothermal dyes have been studied, previous research has been mainly based on inorganic materials that are difficult to apply industrially as the coating material must be transparent. In addition, inorganic materials require a large amount of light energy to produce a photothermal effect.

The research team used transparent organic photothermal dyes that can absorb near-infrared light. This light is a long-wavelength energy source that accounts for less than 10% of midday sunlight and therefore can bypass excessive vehicle surface temperature rise. In addition, organic photothermal dyes have several marketing advantages: they do not affect the color of the product due to the inherent colorless color, they mix easily with different inks and they are low cost.

The developed self-healing material is expected to be used as a coating material for transportation applications, electronic devices such as smartphones and computers, and building materials in the future. In addition, it is expected to contribute to helping with carbon neutrality by reducing the use of harmful organic solvents, which are generated in large quantities when repainting vehicles.

The Doctor. Jin Chul Kim, Research Director, said: “The technology developed is a platform technology that synthesizes self-healing coating materials using inexpensive commercial polymeric materials and photothermal dyes. It is expected to be widely used not only in automotive clearcoats, but also in various applications.”

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