Corn-based lacquer heals its scratches when heated | New Atlas

It’s certainly a hassle when a car gets a big paint-scratch, but smaller scratches in its clear coat are much more common and still unsightly. A new corn-based transparent finish could help, as its scratches heal up when subjected to heat.

Developed by scientists at Germany’s Leibniz Institute for New Materials, working with colleagues at Saarland University, the “Nanomer” lacquer incorporates ring-shaped molecules known as cyclodextrins.

Derived from corn starch, these are threaded like pearls onto long-chain polymer molecules. The cyclodextrins are then able to move freely along the length of those chains, but are kept from falling off the ends by large “stopper” molecules. All of the cyclodextrin-loaded long-chain polymer molecules are in turn cross-linked to one another, via a chemical reaction.

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