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Old 03-02-2009
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Default The "Sacrificial Layer" (or "Why You Should Protect Your Clearcoat")

Clear Coat Failure Images.
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Old 03-02-2009
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Default Re: The 'Sacrificial Layer'.

Question: What does the Amazon jungle have to do with your car’s paint?

We’ve all heard the old adage from Henry Ford, marketing his original T Model. “You can have any colour you like, as long as it’s black.”

Car paint has come a long way since then. I’m not going to get into the history of car paint, but most paint on cars these days is complex, and the range of colours is now almost whatever you can dream of.
It’s not a simple process either. The first coat, Primer, is what is closest to the bare metal. This bonds best with the metal, and then the main colour bonds with the primer, giving a greater strength than just paint on metal. With the vast array of main colours these days, and the complexity of them, what with all the different colours, the addition of an Opal fleck to the paint, and also metalflake as well, paint has become an expensive part of the car itself. To that end, manufacturers now cover this colour with Clear Coat to protect that main colour. This Clear Coat is in the main the thickest of the coats, and is also the softest.
Some reds and most whites are just the base colour with no clear, and some of these base colours can be very hard indeed, so the addition of a Clear is not really required.
However any colour other than those is usually ‘shot’ with a Clear.

So, therein probably lies part of the problem and that stems to the average person’s perception of the paint on their car. The paint on new cars these days really looks gleaming, almost looking like glass. This new paint on nearly all cars looks really good, and most people in that first flush of ownership of a new car want to look after it, well, for a while anyway. So the car gets a wash after a month or so, and more often than not is allowed to dry off by itself. Immediately after that the owner looks at it, and because of the way the clear looks like that coat of glass, the shine remains, furthering the impression that a wash is all that is needed, further enhanced with each subsequent wash, until the novelty wears off, and then it’s just drive through the car wash machine once every so often.

Most of the guys who come to this Forum, and others like it, have questions about what the products do, and those who stay end up learning more than just ‘What will give me the wettest look on my paint’.

The vast bulk of car owners probably look upon guys who do as we do as being obsessive, and looking at their car, with the impression they have of it always looking so good, the perception is that they really don’t need to go to all that trouble, because after all, it’s only to get me from A to B, and there’s no way I’m going to enter into that obsession. Some amongst us probably have family members, partners, friend, who actually do think of them in that manner, and if truth be told, probably some among us even think that way about themselves.

See how it’s a perception thing.

Tony.
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Old 03-02-2009
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Default Re: The 'Sacrificial Layer'.

However, if you hang around long enough, ‘stuff’ sinks in, so let’s look at that.
We wash our cars with specialised car wash soap. We know not to use dish soap because of what it does to wax and those other last step products, whatever they are. Dish soap also has a deleterious effect on vinyl, rubber, and plastics used on modern cars.
So straight up, there is a specific reason we use car wash soap.
We use 2 buckets, one with suds, one for rinsing. We do that because the Clear is soft, and any tiny grit on the surface removed during the wash can scrape around on the surface inducing ‘swirls’. See, there’s a reason for that now.
We use a thick wool mitt. Again so the tiny grit is moved back into the pile away from the clear, and then rinsed off.

We even use specialised towels for drying off and place, pat, and lift them, rather than dragging a Chamois across the surface, so it doesn’t drag the wax off or move tiny grit inducing scratches.

See the reasons.

Clay comes next, and the short video should be required viewing if only for the graphic in it that shows how the clay lifts out those tiny particles embedded in the Clear.

Next, and this is a step that you all should think about, is the Pre Wax Cleaner. If you’ve just clayed and removed those tiny particles, this then cleans out that microscopic pinhole in the clear. The single step products can do this, but I would use the Pre Wax Cleaner first, no matter what product I then go on to use.

Then you can work up with whatever product you wish to use, and this is where personal preference comes in, and also working with the paint colour you have.

The same also applies for every product in the range that you use. True, it all adds to the final ‘look’ of the finished work, but each has a specific task, and in the main, that is for the protection of what it is being applied to, be it the paint, the painted plastics, the black external vinyls and rubbers, the glass, the lighting lenses, the wheels, the tyres, the internal vinyl, the seats, be they leather or whatever, everything you do.

So, what others might look upon as an obsession, and probably even an unnatural obsession, is in fact a practical thing. The shine, and the look are almost secondary to that actual protection that all these tasks offer.

The process might be looked upon as someone going out and actually purchasing all these things as being sucked in for what is basically still just a shiny looking new car, and those new car owners see their own shiny new car, and because the Clear makes it look so good, their perception is that they don’t need to spend what they perceive as a lot, for something that might seem only a marginal improvement, and to do the work, to sink in what they also perceive as a lot of manhours.

However, for everything you do, there is a valid reason, and those who don’t do this sort of work may think I’m drawing a long bow to justify what they perceive as an obsession, but that doesn’t bother me in the slightest, because I have a better idea on how I’m protecting that paint, and the rest, than they might have. That is not meant as criticism of them, but as an observation of the perception they have.

Tony.
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  #4  
Old 03-02-2009
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Default Re: The 'Sacrificial Layer'.

So then, paint protection.
Every car park I go into, I can find at least one car with Clear Coat failure, and when I took the above images, that was just two cars in one section of a Shopping Centre car park, two cars among another three or four, and just in that one small section of Car Park.

Clear Coat failure would probably be more prevalent here in Australia, due to the really hot conditions we have, especially in the Summer months.
I’ve even seen Clear Coat failure on relatively recent cars.
The Sun beating down on the paint, and heating the metal means that the paint is being heated by direct radiation from the Sun above and from the hot metal below.

I’ll mention the protection phase a little later, but how do you know when it’s starting, and right up front you need to realise one thing.

Forrest mentioned in the road salts thread the following:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Forrest
Once the cancer starts, the battle is lost.
The same applies here. Once it has started, that’s it. It’s too late. It cannot be recovered. So when people see the early stages, and take the car to a detailer for a ‘magic’ fix, it’s already too late, and the only fix is to remove the clear, and if the main colour is okay, then to ‘reshoot’ it with a clear. There is no magic bullet here.

Look at the first image of the blue Honda.

At top right just back from the edge in the black seal below the glass you will see a white spot. About an inch below that is a round white cloud like mark. With some white spots off to the lower left a little.
That white cloudy circle is what Clear looks like that is on the way to failure. It starts out as white cloudy looking marks. If you look a little closer, you will see those cloudy marks all through this area of the boot (trunk) with other white spots and also some spots of corrosion as well. This image does not highlight it as it really is, because there are these white cloudy areas throughout that panel, facing up at the heat of the Sun all the time.

The next image is of the roof of that same car. See the rear vertical panel and the Clear there is virtually pristine, but the Clear on the roof has failed and this is the worst case scenario you might probably see. The Clear having failed, and from that original few points of breaching, it then spreads very quickly, and as you can see from this, the main colour underneath has also ‘gone to heaven’. The ‘fix’ for this is a complete removal back to the metal, and then paint it back up from there, a very costly thing indeed.

Now the next image highlights what you are doing with the clay bar work, and also the Pre Wax Cleaner. The lower left corner shows that telltale cloudy area and also a white spot. Central in that white spot is probably the original breach, and it could have been as small as a metallic piece of rail dust like material. It then corroded away to nothing, leaving the pinprick hole in the Clear. This allows the air to get in and between the bond between the Clear and the Main colour, the Clear failing and then radiating out from that. Upper middle right is the end result of that, the Clear peeling away in this case, and the main colour under that fading as well. The clear as a whole is cloudy looking and also heading in the same direction as the roof of the blue car. The clay bar lifts out the tiny fleck before it corrodes away, enlarging the pinhole as it corrodes, and the Pre Wax Cleaner cleans the pinhole, and then you work up to the last product.

Admitted, these cars are not even close to new, and the owners are probably resigned to the fact that the cost of new paint is not worth the effort.

However, left without any work, there is the possibility that Clears on even new cars could end up like this.

You in the U.S. will probably not see Clear Coat failure on a scale such as this, maybe in some of the hotter Southern States, but as I’ve mentioned here, this is something you can see quite often here in Australia.

So, the real worth is seeing that it does not happen in the first place, and this is where the title, ‘The Sacrificial Layer’ comes in.

Whatever product you use as your last step, then that IS that sacrificial layer. It protects your Clear Coat from the damage that the Sun can cause. Also, using clay, especially on a brand new car, and then the Pre Wax Cleaner to ‘work’ those microscopic pin pricks, and then working up to that last step sees the Clear totally protected, and if the work is kept up, then the paint will stay as pristine as it was when the car was on the showroom floor..
Driving in traffic you pass through the exhaust of all the other cars on the road, and this exhaust can degrade that layer of protection, hence, the top up with spray waxes after each wash, and the recommended timeline for the routine work ups will see that layer of protection always there.
That then becomes the sacrificial layer and that is what the heat of the Sun will break down over time, and not the Clear Coat.

So, it’s all perception, and degrees of perception. Others might think of you as an obsessive guy who puts all that stuff on his or her car.

What they see is the incredible shine.

What I see is a sacrificial layer. That shine is just the added bonus.

Tony.
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Old 03-02-2009
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Default Re: The 'Sacrificial Layer'.

So then back to the Question at the top. The Amazon jungle and your paint. What’s the link?

This will be a pretty basic Science post.

You all eat food that at one time or other grew in the ground. Fruit, vegetables, wheat for bread, whatever. All that food has Carbon in it, that it has taken in from the air around it as it grows.

Every human body has a set amount of Carbon in it, so that excess from the food you eat needs to be expelled from the body. The Carbon in the food you eat is absorbed through the stomach lining and enters the bloodstream.
You breathe in Oxygen which is absorbed into the blood through the linings in the lungs. For the reverse process, you breathe out Carbon Dioxide (CO2). The excess Carbon from the food you eat, and also in your bloodstream passes through the linings of the lungs, and you breathe it out as part of the unused oxygen, combined with the excess Carbon, now as CO2.

We all learned at school that we breathe in Oxygen, and out CO2, and one of the things we also learned was that all green things that grow in the ground do the opposite, that is, take in the airborne CO2, and give off life giving (for us humans) Oxygen.

How does that process work then?

One thing we probably don’t remember is that this only happens during daylight hours. The process of green matter absorbing Carbon from the air is subject to the light from the Sun, not the heat, but just the light, so it only starts when the Sun comes up.

Everything that grows in the ground ‘fixes’ Carbon. In other words, it takes Carbon from the air, and it stays in that growing thing for it’s whole life. This applies most with trees. The fruit and vegetables you eat sees this Carbon passing into you, and then back out again as CO2, preserving the continuous cycle.

Trees especially are the best ‘fixers’ of Carbon that there are. The Carbon is absorbed into the green leaves of the tree, and then is sequestered into the wood. Forest fires will release this Carbon back into the air, but if the tree just dies, then that Carbon is sequestered in the wood until the tree finally rots back into the ground.

Now, you’ve all probably read the ‘History Of Carnauba’ on the Mothers Home page. It sounds like great advertising, which it is, but what is the Science behind that, if there is any?

Especially in tropical rain forests or jungles, there are an awful lot of trees, and this applies most in the Amazon Jungles of Northern Brazil. For survival, they need to have ready access to that light from the Sun, to assist in their absorption of Carbon, which they require for the wood in the tree to grow and become strong, so, they need a lot of green matter, the leaves, or, a lot of fronds on that branch so they can suck up as much Carbon as is possible, hence trees in tropical rain forests are in the main tall, because they need that light in the canopy for them to grow stronger.
This has inherent problems. The light from the Sun is required to take in that Carbon, but in the Amazon jungle, on the Equator, the Sun is also quite hot. Keep in mind that the light is required to start the process, but this intense heat has the drawback that it will burn the delicate fronds of the tree, although you may not think of them as delicate really.

So, this tree, the Copernicia Cerifera has developed the mechanism to protect the frond from the heat, while still allowing the light to assist in the process of Carbon absorption. That mechanism is to coat the fronds in the wax it has developed, what we call Carnauba Wax. This waxy coating on the fronds protects them from the heat of the Sun while still allowing in the light.

The fronds are removed, the wax processed from them, and then further processed into the product we use on the paint of our car. We apply the Wax, than allow the products in that wax that make it able to be worked to flash off, and the remaining very thin layer we then remove to leave a hard shell of protection, that sacrificial layer, and the fact that it then shines up so wonderfully is that added bonus.

So, in effect, what we have done is exactly the same as what it does on the fronds of the tree. It protects the fronds from the heat of the Sun and from the harsh elements of the weather in the Brazilian jungles, and on our car, it does exactly the same.

As to it melting in the heat of the Sun, Carnauba has the highest melting point of all waxes, around 187 degrees, so the protection from the heat of the Sun also adds to the protection from the metal of your car under the paint, that paint acting as a further insulating barrier between the metal and the Wax.

So, even though it actually IS great advertising, there is real Science behind it.

Tony.
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  #6  
Old 03-09-2009
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Default Re: The "Sacrificial Layer" (or "Why You Should Protect Your Clearcoat")

Another one for my bookmarks. Thanks Tony.
  #7  
Old 03-09-2009
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Default Re: The "Sacrificial Layer" (or "Why You Should Protect Your Clearcoat")

If a car has widespread clear coat failure, then it is a bad paint job in my opinion. My Dakota has clear coat issues. Mfg's are always tweaking paints (cost, environmental rules, etc) so their changes often do not get detected until it gets in the real world.
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Old 07-23-2009
Trac_511 Trac_511 is offline
 
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Default Re: The "Sacrificial Layer" (or "Why You Should Protect Your Clearcoat")

Thanks for the deep insight, Tony.
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Old 09-08-2009
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Default Re: The "Sacrificial Layer" (or "Why You Should Protect Your Clearcoat")

Great thread! Sure helps out newbies a lot

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