What if there was a way for wood furniture to self-repair surface scratches? Consumers spend hard-earned money on wood furniture and want it to look great and last for a long time. Unfortunately, scratches are fairly common, especially on flat surfaces that come in contact with sharp objects, have keys thrown on them and more.
Lubrizol has done extensive research to determine what each area of the value chain wants when it comes to wood furniture—manufacturers, retailers, coating shops and consumers. It’s not surprising that consumers value appearance and durability above all else. Scratches and small surface abrasions detract from both.
The possibilities for furniture that can self-repair a scratch are virtually unlimited. And, not some far-off science-fiction fantasy.
While there is no technology that exists for a scratch-proof wood coating today, Lubrizol is in the research and development phase working to solve this problem. Our goal – to develop technology that enables a new kind of coating—one that is self-healing—with the ability to heal scratches and restore the natural finish of wood so furniture looks better and lasts longer.
Two approaches are being explored for self-healing coatings: non-autonomous and autonomous healing.
A non-autonomous self-healing coating would require the application of heat or pressure or a substance like water or a solvent to activate a healing process. Lubrizol is exploring easy ways for consumers to trigger a self-healing process. For instance, if furniture gets scratched, heating the surface could be one step in restoring the original look of the paint and wood.
An autonomous self-healing coating is more challenging because it requires something intrinsic in the material that fixes scratches, so marks disappear. One functional example would be an autonomous coating with tiny microcapsules in the coating. When a scratch happens, the microcapsules would burst. The liquid in these microcapsules then would fill the cracks.
Further down the line could involve the chemistry of the coating actually readjusting itself, with the integrity of the material being restored, which would involve more advanced ingredients in monomers. Right now, this approach would be too expensive to use for furniture, but it could be a possibility as technologies continue to evolve.
A Future Within Reach
Lubrizol is a leader in resin, dispersant, and surface modifier technology for wood coatings, which is why we’re using our unique expertise and commitment to innovation to bring new types of products to market, like self-healing coating capabilities. While we continue to work on self-healing coating capabilities, we will keep bringing technology to market that makes coatings stronger and tougher, so they are more scratch resistant, such as Aptalon™ Polyamide Polyurethanes. The Aptalon product family provides excellent protection and a beautiful finish for both wood and metal surfaces. Next up to market for the Aptalon family will be a 2K wood coating that will crosslink with a nonhazardous crosslinker.
Contact us If you’d like to learn more about our work to develop a self-healing coating for wood furniture or other innovative work to bring new technology to market.