Thursday, July 12, 2007

Water Beading

Most of us have the perception that when our car paintwork beads water, it means there's a layer of substance (whether it's sealant, wax or even cooking oil) on top of the paintwork. This layer creates lower surface tension and causes water to have relatively higher surface tension, and hence water beads. When the paintwork surface tension is low, most of the elements (such as rain water, mud water, etc...) will not be able to stick on it. A gentle flow of pipe water after a car wash will leave the surface extremely dry as majority of the pipe water will be pulled off by the gravity. This makes drying much easier and faster. We love that ain't we?

What if your car is covered with a layer of thick dust and suddenly it drizzles? Yes, lots of small water beads will stay on top of the paintwork before it dries up. These water beads seem to be able to pull the dust and might cause more dirt (after dust being wet by water) per surface area than before. Once the sun comes out, the intense sunlight will further being focused via the water beads which act as micro-lenses. This isn't going to do good to your paintwork for long term especially when you don't wash your car often to remove the previous layer of concentrated dirt.

So what's the conclusion? Is water beading good? Yes, it is easier to wash and dry your car if you do it often (once every two days in our environment) since the surface will hardly hold any dirt, especially the vertical panels. No, it might do more harm than good if you hardly do washing.

The ideal protection I wish for my car is the one which it'll bead water crazily and at the same time protecting it from any damaging elements.

Water beading caused by an instant application of Meguiar's Ultimate Quick Detailer.


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