Stuttgart – After four years
of development work, an innovative new clear lacquer is set to go into
series production at Mercedes-Benz at the end of 2003. Ground-breaking
nano-technology ensures that the new product is substantially more
scratch-resistant than conventional paint. The E, S, CL, SL and SLK-Class
model series are the first cars in the world to be available with this new
paint system, whilst customers of other Mercedes models can look forward
to the increased scratch resistance of nano-paintwork from spring 2004.
This new technology represents the Stuttgart-based car maker’s latest
significant contribution towards considerably enhancing the already
exemplary long-term quality and value retention of its passenger cars.
The newly developed clear lacquer, which contains microscopically small
ceramic particles, hardens in the paint shop oven, forming an extensively
cross-linked network. The paint is thus more effectively protected against
scratches caused by mechanical car-washes, for example. The nano-particles
provide a three-fold improvement in the scratch resistance of the
paintwork and ensure visibly enhanced gloss over an extended period of
time. Following extreme tests in a laboratory car-wash, Mercedes engineers
noted an around 40-percent improvement in paint gloss compared to
conventional clear lacquers.
Mercedes-Benz carried out extensive testing on the nano-particle clearcoat
both in the laboratory and under everyday conditions. Even after several
years of use, the more than 150 test cars involved in the long-term
testing program displayed significantly greater scratch resistance and
enhanced paint gloss compared to vehicles with conventional paintwork.
Added to which, the newly developed paint system also meets the stringent
Mercedes standards in terms of the protection it offers from chemicals in
New nano-particle clearcoat will be introduced as standard for both
metallic and non-metallic paint finishes.
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 millimeter 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 ten 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-percent greater gloss than samples with conventional clear
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 nanometer equating to
a billionth of a meter.
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