Nissan has begun tests on innovative coating technology that repels mud, rain and everyday dirt. The specially engineered super-hydrophobic and oleophobic coating has been applied to the bodywork of the all-new Nissan Note to create a “self-cleaning car”. Nissan is the first carmaker to apply the technology, called Ultra-Ever Dry, which is being marketed and sold by UltraTech International Inc, on automotive bodywork.
When dust, dirt or other molecules do accumulate on a superhydrophobic coated surface, a light spray of water or a blast of air grabs the dust and removes it.
To assess the real-world effectiveness of the coating as a potential aftermarket application, engineers at Nissan Technical Centre Europe will be testing the self-cleaning Note over the coming months in a variety of conditions.
So far, the coating has responded well to common use cases including rain, spray, frost, sleet and standing water. While there are currently no plans for the technology to be applied to the model as standard, Nissan will continue to consider the coating technology as a future aftermarket option.
According to UltraTech, Ultra-Ever Dry is applied in two coats, with the bottom coat bonding to most materials and acting as a primer. The bottom coat provides a consistent material to which the top coat bonds and also interacts with the top coat to self-assemble the surface, creating finely textured geometry comprising patterns of geometric shapes and billions of interstitial spaces.
There are “high points” in the surface that help to create a low surface energy, which causes droplets of water to touch a very small percentage of the coating. The water in the droplet that does not touch these “high points” is held together by intermolecular cohesive forces of the water molecules. It is the combination of these elements that allow Ultra-Ever Dry to be superhydrophobic and oleophobic for some, but not all, oil-based liquids.
|The standard Ultra-Ever Dry coating is a hazy translucent white. Here it is applied on glass. Click to enlarge.
The Ultra-Ever Dry formula is susceptible to environmental conditions such as UV. This coating offers approximately one year of outdoor life before requiring a recoating of the top coat. Ultra-Ever Dry coating is also susceptible to abrasion.
The standard Ultra-Ever Dry product is a hazy translucent white; the company does not recommend using it on automotive body panels or windows/windshields because of the translucent white color.
It’s not the first time ‘self-cleaning’ technology has been used on the Note. The car already features a ‘wash and blow dry’ function on its rear view camera. This uses water and compressed air to automatically keep the lens free of dirt and ensure the Notes’ safety sensors work in all conditions.