Ceramic coating protects against UV rays, oxidation, and chemical stains. This minimizes the need for frequent car washes and waxing while boosting your vehicle’s resale value.
Silica or silicon dioxide is the main ingredient in ceramic coatings and creates a hard, nearly invisible layer of protection. It repels dirt, reducing swirl marks and making it easier to clean your car.
UV Ray Resistance
As the sun passes overhead, it releases a lot of energy in the form of invisible ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Although much of it is blocked by the atmosphere, enough does get through to cause damage to many materials, including polymer plastics and skin. This makes it crucial that engineers carefully consider the UV-resistant properties of the polymers they choose for their projects.
A material’s UV-resistant characteristics are related to the way its microstructure interacts with electromagnetic radiation. Ceramics exhibit ionic bonding, the attraction of positively and negatively charged ions in a regular periodic lattice structure. Unlike metals, these ions are tightly bound to each other, which means that they don’t lose electrons easily. This gives ceramics exceptionally high strength, enables them to withstand extremely high temperatures, and makes them strong electrical insulators. Unfortunately, this same microstructure makes some types of glass and polymers highly susceptible to the degradation that results from exposure to UV rays.
To counter the effects of UV radiation, there are several different ways that manufacturers can make their plastics resistant to it. For example, fillers such as titanium oxide and carbon black can act as UV blockers to prevent rays from reaching the polymer’s actual molecules. Absorbers, which convert the rays into heat, can also be used to increase UV resistance. Stabilizers, which work by trapping free radicals, can also be introduced into plastic to minimize subsequent degradation.
In addition to UV radiation, a plastic’s ability to resist environmental factors such as moisture and chemicals can also play an important role in its UV-resistant properties. Chemicals like acids, alkalis, and salts can react with UV radiation to cause changes in the molecular structure of a plastic. These changes can be very damaging to plastic, making it prone to deterioration and early failure.
While polypropylene and polyethylene can deteriorate in the presence of these chemicals, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is known by the trademark name Teflon, has excellent abrasion resistance and tensile strength and does not degrade under these conditions. It is also capable of withstanding very high temperatures without losing its low friction coefficient. Other fluoropolymers, such as polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), offer similar superior performance and extreme chemical inertness.
Whether your car is in the driveway or a parking lot, it is exposed to a variety of physical hazards that cause damage to its paint. Ceramic coating protects your vehicle from these conditions by providing a strong protective barrier against chemical etching, abrasion, and oxidation. This means that you will be able to preserve the appearance of your vehicle for years to come without having to spend time and money on traditional waxes or car washes.
In addition to its superior resistance against abrasion and extreme heat, ceramic coating is also water resistant. This is thanks to the fact that PDMS contains silane additives that allow it to bond with the surface of your car’s paint, creating an extremely thin and semi-permanent protective layer. The silane also allows the PDMS to resist various chemicals that would otherwise break down or damage the surface of your car, such as petrol and diesel fuels.
This hydrophobic property means that you won’t have to worry about mineral deposits clinging to your vehicle’s painted surfaces, and it will be easier to clean off dirt, mud, and bird droppings. Ceramic coatings will even repel water from your windshield, so you won’t have to worry about unsightly watermarks that can occur during inclement weather.
If you have ever watched a video demonstration of someone tossing a bucket of murky water against a ceramic-coated car, you may have been left slack-jawed. While no automotive-detailing expert worth their salt would suggest that you should skip the car wash, the ceramic coating will provide a level of protection that will save you money on costly car washes and other products that do not last as long as a professional ceramic coating.
Another way that ceramic coating can save you money is by preventing the need for expensive replacements of your vehicle’s exterior. If your car is constantly being scratched and scuffed by gravel, tree branches, or other environmental elements, it will require a great deal of time and effort to buff out the resulting paintwork scratches and etching. With a durable ceramic coating, these blemishes will be much less likely to develop and will require minimal maintenance.
Ceramic coating is a highly effective way to protect your vehicle from harmful UV rays and environmental damage. However, there are a number of misconceptions about what it can and cannot do for your vehicle. The truth is that a ceramic coating can protect your vehicle from light scratches, but it will not prevent scratches entirely. This is because scratches are a result of the friction between atoms, and while a ceramic coating offers a certain amount of scratch resistance, it is not bulletproof.
While the scratch performance of exterior paints has been researched extensively, the scratch and mar resistance of PC glazing systems has received significantly less attention. The reason for this is that whereas the clearcoat layer of paint systems is viewed in both reflection and transmission, the hard coat layers of polymeric glazings are viewed only in transmission. This makes the transmitted component of their scratch and mar resistance performance much more important for driver visibility.
Scratch-resistant coatings have been developed to reduce the occurrence of fracture scratches on polymeric glazings, but these coatings do not heal the cracks that are created by abrasion. This is a critical flaw because these cracks can deform the surface of the glazing and compromise its functionality, such as the transmissivity of optical images to the driver.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they get a ceramic coating on their car is that it will stay protected without any upkeep. While it does offer self-cleaning properties and can repel dirt and grime more easily, a ceramic-coated vehicle still needs to be washed. In addition, there are a number of things that can cause deep scratches to your vehicle’s finish, from embedded brake dust to the stray leg of an unlucky fly.
While some coatings can heal abrasions by briefly increasing their temperature, they cannot heal the cracks that occur during fracture scratch events. While these thermally healing coatings do improve the shoulder and trough heights of the coating mars/scratches, they do not significantly reduce the number of scratches and can only be used on glazings, such as windshields and touch sensor lenses.
The durability of ceramic coating is its ability to shield your car from harmful chemicals and elements that would otherwise eat through paint and cause oxidation. This allows the paint to retain its vibrant color for longer and keeps it looking brand new for a much longer time than would otherwise be possible.
It also makes it easier to clean your vehicle, as dirt and other contaminants can’t be embedded into the paint. This means it’s far easier to remove bird droppings, tar, road grime, and other substances from a ceramic-coated vehicle, as they simply slide right off.
Aside from making your vehicle cleaner to maintain its appearance, the ceramic coating will make future maintenance tasks easier and quicker as well. It creates a barrier between the car and contaminants, so if you do need to wash your vehicle in the future, you can use a pH-neutral soap with a microfiber towel and will find that your vehicle is far easier to dry afterward.
Ceramic coating lasts anywhere from a few months to several years, which is significantly longer than the lifespan of a wax or even a carnauba wax. That’s why so many car owners choose to have it applied. They know it’s a smart way to protect their investment and ensure their vehicle remains as beautiful as the day they bought it.
While ceramic coating is a great option for most vehicles, it’s not bulletproofed. Small rocks and other debris can still damage the paint if they hit it at high speeds or in the right spot. In these cases, paint protection film (PPF) may be a better option as it can protect the entire front of your vehicle.
To learn more about ceramic coating and how it can help you keep your vehicle looking like new for a long time, contact one of our Elite Dealers today. We offer a variety of ceramic coating options and can discuss the benefits with you in detail, including the Ultimate Armor package that provides full front PPF coverage and is guaranteed for the life of your vehicle!