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"What Raw Material are Modern Automotive Clear Coats Made From?"


What raw material is used to make the clear coat finish (resin) of modern automotive paints?

I've read that older style paints like lacquers, enamels, varnish, shellac etc. were made from things like flax seed oil, China Tung Nut Oil, Safflower Oil, Cotton Seed Oil, etc. (natural resources), but I'm interested to know what the base, or natural resource is for a modern clear coat paint is.

Modern clear coat finishes are Urethane, Polyurethane, Acrylic, etc, (So I've read), but what material did the chemist start with to create the end result?

Inquiring minds want to know?


Mike Phillips
car detailing e'zine - Apple Valley, California, USA

First of two simultaneous responses -- 2005

The intermediate chemicals are petro: natural gas or crude oil. The original chemicals were dinosaurs...before that they were plants...before that they were inorganic chemicals and sunshine...before that, I don't know.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg, South Carolina

Second of two simultaneous responses -- 2005


How far down the food chain do you want to go? Polymers resins like acrylics and urethanes are manufactured from petroleum refining byproducts. Acrylic is a generic name for the polymer poly(methyl methacrylate) or PMMA. PMMA is manufactured by the free radical polymerization process using a chemical called methyl methacrylate. Polurethanes are manufactured by reacting diisocyanates with di-alcohols, such as ethylene glycol (main component in radiator antifreeze). There are a number of websites that you could visit that explain how polymers are made, what the raw materials are, etc.

Toby Padfield
Automotive module supplier - Michigan

September 20, 2008

Can anybody assist with comment on the potential increase in bonding strength of polyester resin to timber by applying methylmethacralate to timber and allowing solvents to almost completely evaporate then apply polyester resin.I understand that methylmethacralate may be mixed into polyester resin with styrene.

Barry Ellery
protocomposite - Sai Kung Hong Kong

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