Ceramic coatings are the leading choice for car care enthusiasts when it comes to providing their vehicle with lasting protection. The key to their popularity lies in their efficacy and this is largely thanks to nanochemistry. The molecules involved have a large surface area compared to their internal volume. As such, they are significantly more resilient to outside forces, such as impact, when compared with larger molecules. Therefore, ceramic coatings based on nanotechnology are inherently tougher than polymer sealants or carnauba waxes.
The primary benefits of applying a ceramic coating to a vehicle’s paintwork, trim, glass, wheels and other substrates include:
- Hydrophobic properties – coatings impart the treated surface a high water contact angle, so, rather than flatten out on the surface, water is encouraged to roll into beads. The beads are then more easily blown away, carrying associated contamination away from the surface, rather than adhering to it.
- Self-cleaning – the non-stick, hydrophobic function also means treated surfaces stay cleaner for longer and are easier to wash free of contamination. The requirement for harsh chemicals is also negated.
- Toughness – with nano molecules having a large surface area to volume ratio, they are better able to withstand swirls and scratches, as well as etching from contamination such as birdlime, tree sap and acid rain fallout. These elements all conspire to rob clear coat of its natural gloss, negatively impacting the vehicle’s appearance and affecting its resale value.
- Durability – ceramic coatings form a chemical bond with the vehicle’s clear coat, becoming the new upper surface to act as a sacrificial layer – instead of damage occurring to the actual clear coat, the ceramic coating takes the brunt instead. This saves the important features of the clear coat which is there to provide protection for the paint pigment from UV fade, as well as providing gloss.
- Added gloss – ceramic coatings help bring out the clarity of the paintwork and add gloss to the final finish.
Ideally, cars would be protected from new with a ceramic coating by an independent detailer who has the time, the knowledge and the experience to thoroughly and safely decontaminate, clean and properly prepare the vehicle first. The owner of this new Porsche Macan was especially keen to ensure the New Car Protection Treatment was carried out properly before he took it to his home in Cornwall. Being in close proximity to the sea, the car would be exposed to the corrosive salt air. As much protection as possible was required! Although the Macan had been driven for fewer than seventy miles, it had collected some industrial and environmental fallout along with some driving debris which would require elimination prior to the protective coating being installed.
For this detail, Kamikaze Collection’s newest coating, Zipang Coat, was selected. Kamikaze Collection is a Japanese designer and engineer of innovative car care solutions. As the home of ceramic coatings, Japan is on the leading edge when it comes to harnessing the power of nanotechnology in relation to its application to car care. Kamikaze Collection actively seeks out the best ingredients from around the world and extensively tests its formulations in-house to ensure each product offers something new and as yet unseen within the car care industry. Zipang Coat is no exception.
When Marco Polo discovered Japan, he called it ‘The Land of Gold’. Kamikaze Collection wanted to produce a ‘beautiful coating’ that would bring out the gloss and ‘fire’, the ‘gold’ element, in paintwork. Although based on technology developed for ISM Pro, Zipang Coat incorporates an entirely new chemical melange incorporating ultra-low molecular weight hydrocarbons with an original formulation, enriching the product, producing extreme water repelling properties and imbuing deeper levels of gloss than ever seen before. The key feature, unique to Zipang Coat within the ceramic coating category is its self-levelling ability which reduces or eliminates the appearance of minor swirls. This function is activated by heat in excess of 75 degrees Celsius. Therefore, exposure to sunshine or hot water will trigger it, or a hair dryer, infrared lamp or heat gun can be used. This allows the surface to appear swirl-free and thereby retain maximum gloss levels for longer. To enhance the protective elements of the coating, Overcoat 2 can be applied as a second layer, further enhancing gloss, hydrophobicity and longevity.
The Macan first required decontamination and cleaning and a principle issue was white water spot deposits across the bodywork.
First, the wheel arches were cleaned with degreasing solution and then treated for iron particles, deposits resulting from the shredding of brake pads. After rinsing these areas, the wheels were treated for iron contamination and then, to eliminate some glue residue, probably left over from the labels affixed to the wheels when the car was new, Gtechniq W7 Tar & Glue Remover was sprayed on. This was allowed to dwell for a few minutes, breaking down the adhesive bonds so that the residues could be easily rinsed away. Then, Wheel Woolie Wheel Brushes were used to thoroughly wash the wheels. The long, thin handles allow the brushes to reach between the spokes to clean the rear of the rim. Having rinsed the cleaning solution away, the bodywork was then also degreased.
Iron contamination remover was also applied before the whole car was sprayed with Ultimate Snow Foam. This creates a thick, creamy foam that clings, even to vertical surfaces, lifting larger particles of dirt and grit away from the panels and encapsulating it within the foam.
The vehicle was then rinsed with pressurised water before the car was thoroughly washed using the Two Bucket Method. This keeps wash water separate from rinse water to prevent contamination removed from the panels being reintroduced and increasing the chances of the paintwork being swirled or scratched.
After the car was completely clean, the suds were rinsed away before an Aqua Gleam De-ionising Water Filter was used to deliver a final, pure water rinse. The Macan was brought into the detailing studio and carefully placed on a hydraulic ramp. It was dried using a BigBoi Touchless Car Dryer which uses a powerful motor to emit a blast of warm, filtered air that chases water off panels and out from natural water-trap areas such as around headlight casings and mirror housings.
To eliminate remaining water spot deposits, Kamikaze Collection Water Spot Remover was used. This gently breaks down the deposits, the elements of which are usually sharp-edged. Rubbing at these marks with a cloth increases the likelihood of swirling the paint finish. Water Spot Remover dissolves the elements and allows them to be wiped harmlessly away. The wheels were then removed so they could be comprehensively protected as part of the Alloy Wheel Protection Treatment.
The true condition of the paintwork was assessed under Scangrip lighting, high-intensity detailing lamps that show up every blemish in the paintwork. The position of the damage is noted on a Vehicle Appraisal Sheet for reference during machine polishing. In this instance, there were few blemishes aside from some wash swirls probably introduced at the dealership during the preparation stage. The paintwork, therefore, needed some refining before Zipang Coat could be applied.
Once Zipang Coat has cured, it will be incredibly difficult to remove and any blemishes will be sealed beneath it. Removing the blemishes at that point will require the removal of the ceramic coating, so, to gain maximum benefit from the treatment, it’s essential to ensure the paintwork is pristine before applying the coating. – Matt Back, Master Detailer, UF Studio
The paintwork was first polished using a RUPES BigFoot LHR15 ES dual action polisher with a RUPES Yellow Polishing Pad and Menzerna Super Finish 3500, a compound specifically designed to eliminate swirls from scratch-resistant paintwork. The paintwork was then refined and finished using Kamikaze Collection Banzai Dynamics Black Finishing Pad and Menzerna Super Finish Plus 3800 to ensure the Tiefschwarz pearl black paintwork was as glossy as possible.
After wiping the Macan with Gtechniq Panel Wipe to prepare the surfaces, ensuring all polish and other residues were completely removed, Zipang Coat was applied.
Kamikaze Collection has spent a significant amount of time developing the application procedure to ensure the coating is laid down uniformly for optimum performance and gloss. Zipang Coat must be applied deliberately slowly and in straight lines to lay down a thick, even coat without unevenness in the layer (which will cause it to cure at different rates affecting the final performance). Strictly controlled environmental conditions are required: temperature should be between 15°c – 25°c, humidity 40%-70%. The layer is allowed to cure for 3-5 minutes before being tested. When the consistency is right, the layer is buffed using a circular motion. The coating must not be ‘chased’ as it will self-level to leave a smear-free finish. The complexity of the application procedure means Zipang Coat is available only as a service through the Kamikaze Collection trained and certified detailer network. – Matt Back, Master Detailer, UF Studio
Whilst Zipang Coat cured, Kamikaze Collection Stance Rim Coat was applied to the wheels, laying down a heat resistant barrier that repels dirt, water, oils and inhibits the build-up of brake dust.
Virtually impervious to extremes of pH, Stance Rim Coat also protects wheels from the damaging effects of chemicals used on winter roads and will help protect against sea air. Maintenance is easier as contamination will not adhere or embed as strongly onto treated surfaces. Gtechniq T2 Tyre Dressing was applied to finish the appearance, giving the tyres a natural satin sheen.
Each window was coated with Kamikaze Collection Intenso Window Coat to provide a hydrophobic barrier to repel rainwater and waterborne contamination. This aids the efficacy of window wipers and helps keep the screen clearer, reducing fatigue for the driver during inclement weather.
The owner wanted the leather interior protected to help keep the ‘as new’ feel. Kamikaze Collection’s new leather product, Musashi Leather Coat, was used.
After first giving the upholstery a light clean using Colourlock Mild Leather Cleaner, a few drops of Musashi was applied to an applicator and worked into the leather. The area was then wiped with a soft, clean microfibre to leave it smooth and dry to the touch. Treated leather is thereby protected from stains from accidental spillages. In addition, treated leather is better protected from UV which fades pigment and dries out the natural material, leaving it brittle and more vulnerable to becoming cracked, ripped or torn. Musashi coats the leather with an abrasion resistant layer, helping to prevent scuffs and, importantly, preventing dye transfer from dark suits or jeans.
To add protection to the now cured layer of Zipang Coat, Overcoat 2 was applied. As well as helping prevent water spotting, Overcoat 2 increases water beading and deepens the reflective shine of the paintwork. It was also sprayed onto the glass and wheels to deliver additional longevity for Intenso Window Coat and Stance Rim Coat. The final finish was way beyond the Land of Gold!