Researchers at the University of Southern Mississippi have invented a new breed of polyester coating that they claim heals itself with no effort or added material. All it needs is an hour in the sunshine.

Scientists Mark Urban and Biswajit Ghosh claim, in their recent paper published in the journal Science, that the coating would make an ideal automotive finish, healing those heartbreaking parking lot scratches while you drive.

According to the paper, the secret is a natural substance called chitosan which is commonly found in the shells of crabs and shrimps…

The [polymer] networks exhibit the ability to self-repair upon exposure to UV light. But, if exactly the same previously repaired spot is damaged again, the ability for further repair may be limited by the thermosetting characteristics of these networks.

The inventors also note that, because the self-repair reactions are not moisture-sensitive, environmental humidity would not impede the healing process. A cloudy day could slow self repair but, conversely, artificial ultraviolet light sources could be used to accelerate the healing process.

No word from the inventors as to when the new auto finishes might start showing up on new cars.

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