Self-Repairing Polymeric Coatings
A study released by Biswajit Ghosh and Marek Urban from the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Polymers and High Performance Materials found that “polyurethanes have many properties that qualify them as high-performance polymeric materials, but they still suffer from mechanical damage.” The authors’ research discovered “polyurethane networks that exhibit self-repairing characteristics upon exposure to ultraviolet light. The network consists of an oxetane-substituted chitosan precursor incorporated into a two-component polyurethane. Upon mechanical damage of the network, four-member oxetane rings open to create two reactive ends. When exposed to ultraviolet light, chitosan chain scission occurs, which forms crosslinks with the reactive oxetane ends, thus repairing the network. These materials are capable of repairing themselves in less than an hour and can be used in many coatings applications” (Ghosh and Urban, Science 2009).
A self-repairing polymeric coating can find many applications in the housing industry. Household products such as furniture, cabinets, countertops, and window trim would be an ideal application for a coating that fills-in scratches. As this new technology continues to advance a self-repairing coating could be applied to metal roofs, vinyl siding, and other exterior systems.
Watch this brief video of a scratch being repaired by this new high-performance polymer.
Video Courtesy of the Urban Research Group
School of Polymers and High Performance Materials
Shelby F. Thames Polymer Science Research Center
University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive, Hattiesburg, MS 39406
Reference: Biswajit Ghosh and Marek W. Urban. Self-Repairing Oxetane-Substituted Chitosan Polyurethane Networks. Science, March 13, 2009. Vol 323. pp. 1458-1460