What is PPF Made Of?
Understanding the technology behind paint protection film will help you make an informed decision.
Before going through with any vehicle modification, it’s a very good idea to learn exactly what you are getting. There is certainly more to Paint Protection Films than meets the eye, so let’s take a moment to discuss what they are made of, which will help us understand their performance.
There are 3 main layers to PPF; an adhesive, the urethane mid layer, and a thin top layer. The middle layer is the key component of PPF that gives it its strength, flexibility, and durability. Urethane is an incredible compound. Like plastic, it is lightweight and completely transparent, but it is much stronger than plastic and retains its flexibility indefinitely.
The adhesive used on PPF isn’t the same as what you find in your standard dollar-store sticker book. This layer has many demands placed upon it: the adhesive must be strong so that the film doesn’t peel off, it must be flexible so it may conform to your vehicle’s curves and swoops, it must be completely transparent so it does not negatively affect the way your car looks, it must be able to withstand years of abuse from rain, snow, ice, scrapes, scuffs, and solar radiation, and when it is time to replace the film it must peel away without residue or damaging the underlying paint.
High quality adhesive is really what separates bargain-brand from premium Paint Protection Films. If you’ve ever seen a vehicle that has PPF peeling away at the corners, blistering, or turning yellow, you were most likely looking at the result of installing cheap films with sub-standard adhesives.
Well-engineered adhesives are a major reason to opt for premium films – such as those made by Autobahn. Read about what it means to be an Autbobahn shop right here, and click here to see our services list.
Urethane is extremely resistant to impact, corrosion, and abrasion, making it perfect material to use as a protective layer. One would think that a material that is so strong would also be stiff and hard to work with, but a key benefit of urethane is its malleability. Urethane’s flexibility allows it to flawlessly conform to every sweep and curve of your vehicle.
In fact, urethane’s incredible properties give it a wide range of uses. Urethane is a critical component of caulking used to seal out moisture and prevent the growth of mildew and mould. Urethane is used to protect undersea cables and is even used in sporting goods like surfboard fins and soccer balls. PPF as we know it was originally designed for military and aerospace use to protect critical components in helicopters and tanks.
While the applications of urethane are impressively broad, the main takeaway is that urethane is the keystone ingredient in automotive PPF. Even though it’s only between 0.1mm and 0.2mm thick, it can protect your paint from rock chips, scratches, scuffs, brake dust, and more.
Elastomeric Clear Coat
This top coat, which is typically around a hundredth of a millimetre (0.01mm) thick, is responsible for two main properties of PPF: self-healing and contaminant rejection.
This incredibly thin layer behaves like a liquid when disturbed, meaning that after a scratch or scuff, it will reform to its original smooth state. The top layer of high quality films will not only heal after minor abrasion, but will help reject chemical contaminants like bird droppings or bug splatter. The top layer of poor films will allow organic compounds to bond with the film, eventually etching into it and causing permanent damage. Premium films prevent anything from bonding to it, keeping your film healthy for years to come.
Quality Makes the Difference
You might have noticed that each layer has one thing in common: quality makes all the difference. A cheap film will discolour, peel away, underperform, look bad, and be a nightmare to remove. If you choose to protect your vehicle with PPF, it is undoubtedly worth finding the best film available to you.
Diversity Auto Films has been outfitting Vancouver Island’s motorists with premium Paint Protection Films for over 20 years, so when it comes to protecting your vehicle, you know who to call. Get in touch anytime to ask questions, get started on your project, or schedule a consultation.