Monday, 28 August 2017

Decontamination using Neutralized Acid


 Environmental Damage
Any new vehicle that is awaiting transportation, shipped by rail or road transportation or awaiting sale on a dealership lot is subjected to environmental damage. They come in a varied range of threats; acid rain, industrial fallout, brake and rail dust, road salt, tree sap, hydrazine an extremely active acid that is found in jet fuel, ultra violet (UV) and heat radiation, and other airborne contaminants are very detrimental to a vehicle's paint film surface.

They are all forms of environmental contamination and given the right catalyst; reactivity (heat) plus moisture, they will become acidic. During this process, the metal absorbs oxygen from the water and forms iron oxide (rust). Given the porosity of paint, they permeate the paint matrix down to body metal.

Acidic Contaminants Identification

Ferrous Metal -  
· Light colored vehicles: Small rust orange dots with black in centre of the stain.
· Dark colored vehicles: Small white or silver dots with a "rainbow hue" around the particle. The surface will also feel rough to the touch (See also ‘Bag Test’). 
Industrial Fallout
· The surface feels rough to the touch and may exhibit crystalline deposits.
· Usually ferrous metal is present, as well as water spots.
Acid Rain
· Surface will exhibit irregular discolored spotting.
· Dark colored vehicles will show cloudy or grey spots where the acids have started to etch the paint.

Reactivity
[: acceleration of a chemical reaction by a catalyst]
Be cognizant that an acid is inert until it comes into contact with moisture; any chemical attacking a surface, the temperature will dictate reactivity (acceleration of a chemical reaction by a catalyst [moisture and heat]. The more heat and moisture that is present (in the form of high humidity, dew and etc.) the more aggressive the acid becomes.

Then you have; an acid + water +oxygen + ozone all of which forms an acidic oxygen molecule that causes a concave indentation (acid etching) to the paint surface it should be noted that until this acid is neutralised subsequent moisture and heat will reactivate the acid and allow further damage, as acid requires an alkaline to neutralize it

Automotive Paint Systems
Automotive coating technology is becoming more and more complex requiring educated and skilled technicians to work on them. As the materials used are constantly changing we must maintain our knowledge base and adapt our methodologies to keep up with emerging technologies.

Worldwide, approximately 80% of all passenger cars are coated with 1K clear coats and the remainder with 2K clear coats. The 1K clear coats are subdivided into solvent-based acrylic melamine systems; clear coats with enhanced surface etch resistance, high solid-systems, water-based systems and powder versions.   The 2K clear coats include solvent-based, super high-solids and water-based versions.

A paint resin system comprises a binder, which as its name implies holds the paint molecules and various other components (additives} together and a film former, which creates a dense surface. Various solvents are used, one as a carrier system, one holds the paint together and the final solvent that evens out the paint to create a smooth, glossy surface (this solvent has the most bearing on the ripple effect (orange peel). These solvents are responsible for the paints density (hard or soft) the paint becomes,

Water-based automotive paint -  are essentially low solids paints (up to 60% waterborne solvent), but they are legal because de-ionized water is used as the solvent, as opposed to volatile organic compounds (VOC).in reality, water-based (waterborne) automotive paint finishing is actually not that new; PPG water-based paint has been used by some OEMs since the early 1990s
Switching to waterborne from solvent-based automotive refinishing paints is becoming more popular in the U.S. for health and environmental reasons, as well as stricter environmental regulations in California and Canada. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and collision repair shops in Europe and some OEMs in the United States already use waterborne paints extensively

Clear coat paint -  especially water-based paint, which are essentially low solids paints (up to 60% waterborne solvent), but they are legal because de-ionized water is used as the solvent, as opposed to volatile organic compounds (VOC), they are a lot more porous than we like to think.
Vehicle manufacturer studies have shown that failure to remove environmental contaminants (like embedded rail dust, acid rain, industrial fallout and other environmental contaminants) from paint film can cause premature degradation of the paint system. While clay products are useful for overspray, they cannot deep clean the surface and pores of the paint. This can only be accomplished through a thorough chemical cleaning and acid neutralization.

Paint decontamination systems were developed as a method of removing ferrous contamination beyond what can be removed by washing or claying alone. The only way to completely remove sintered (heat fused) ferrous iron particles is with a dedicated decontamination system that opens up the paint's micro pores to release iron particles and to neutralize the caustic compounds that have developed as a result of the particle. In one step, you can eliminate both the cause and its effects. Ongoing damage is immediately stopped and future damage is prevented by completely removing the ferrous particles.

Airborne chemical compounds and ferrous particles - particles containing iron - actually penetrate the paint and create corrosive compounds that eat deep into the paint's sub-layers or paint’s pin-holes. This is a gradual process that often is not evident until it's too late.

Claying or polishing only removes the particle, not its effects, which are continuing to spread beneath the surface. During the use of your vehicle, brake dust and road grime become sintered to the surface of the car paint, rims and wheels due to the high-temperature conditions they are normally exposed. Brake dust contains high levels of iron and once sintered to the rim, becomes extremely difficult to dissolve or remove without the use of harsh chemicals.

Thermodynamics [: exothermic describes a process or reaction that releases energy from the system to its surroundings, usually in the form of heat]

Neutralized Acid Decontamination (FerreX, IronX, and etc) This is a highly effective, acid-free and pH corrected (pH 6.0) paint surface and glass cleaner (safe for all painted surfaces including aluminium and alloys).An exothermic reaction opens up the paint's pores to release ferrous particles and to neutralize caustic compounds that have developed in the paint's subsurface. Ongoing damage is immediately stopped and future damage is prevented by removing the ferrous particulates

As the cleansing liquid begins to work into the dirt and grime, the formula begins to turn purple/ red. The purple/red coloration is the product forming a bond to the sintered iron on the car paint and wheel and changing its state to a water soluble complex for easy removal. Stubborn, baked on grime may take a small amount of agitation. Rinse car paint and wheels thoroughly with a power washer and wipe dry.

Application
1. Wash the paint surface with a concentrate
2. Rinse the surface thoroughly with clean water, power wash or hose
3. Pour a few small drops of soap gel onto a wet sponge, and wash the surface.
4. While agitating the surface, the soap gel will start to change colour when it comes into contact with metallic particles
5. Rinse the surface thoroughly with clean water
6. Dry the paint surface
Average consumption per complete car: 0.5 - 1 fluid oz (20 - 30ml) per car

{Knowledge Management} - Treating experience as a shared asset. If this article was informative and you learned something new, or have any questions feel free to comment. We would love if you shared this article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter or linked to it from your website or blog- Thanks

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Water



Water

The most common solvent in everyday life is water

Water [: Its chemical formula is H2O, meaning that its molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms, that are connected by covalent bonds. Water strictly refers to the liquid state of that substance, that prevails at standard ambient temperature and pressure; but it often refers also to its solid state (ice) or its gaseous state (steam or water vapor)]

Solvent [: a solvent (from the Latin solvō, "loosen, untie, solve") is a substance that dissolves a solute (a chemically distinct liquid, solid or gas), resulting in a solution]



Water is the liquid solvent most commonly used for cleaning, has a property called surface tension. In the body of the water, each molecule is surrounded and attracted by other water molecules. However, at the surface, other water molecules only on the waterside surround those molecules. A tension is created as the water molecules at the surface are pulled into the body of the water. This tension causes water to bead up on surfaces (glass, fabric), which slows wetting of the surface and inhibits the cleaning process.

You can see surface tension at work by placing a drop of water onto a counter top. The drop will hold its shape and will not spread. In the cleaning process, surface tension must be reduced so water can spread and wet surfaces. Chemicals that are able to do this effectively are called surface-active agents, or surfactants. They are said to make water "wetter."

Water Temperature

Reactivity – [: the tendency of a substance to undergo a chemical reaction and to release energy].

Warm or hot water melts fats and oils so that it is easier for the soap or detergent to dissolve the soil and pull it away into the rinse water. Thermal energy (hot water) gets things cleaner along with mechanical energy (abrasion) and chemicals (surfactants and etc.); if you reduce the thermal energy you need to increase the other two to compensate. However, there are some newer surfactants and enzymes that work better in cold water. The temperature at which a surfactant becomes insoluble in water; this becomes important when designing detergents for use in hot water work at 85 O.F (30°C) or below.

How Water Hardness Affects Cleaning Action

pH Value [: In chemistry, pH - potential of hydrogen- is a numeric scale used to specify the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution]

 Solutions with a pH less than 7 are acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic. Pure water is neutral, at pH 7, being neither an acid nor a base.

Although soap is a good cleaning agent, its effectiveness is reduced when used in hard water. Hardness in water is caused by the presence of mineral salts - mostly those of calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg), but sometimes also iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn). The mineral salts react with soap to form an insoluble precipitate known as soap film or scum.

Soap film does not rinse away easily. It tends to remain behind and produces visible deposits on clothing and makes fabrics feel stiff. It also attaches to the insides of bathtubs, sinks and washing machines.

Some soap is used up by reacting with hard water minerals to form the film. This reduces the amount of soap available for cleaning. Even when clothes are washed in soft water, some hardness minerals are introduced by the soil on clothes. Soap molecules are not very versatile and cannot be adapted to today's variety of fibres, washing temperatures and water conditions.

Basic Soap and Detergent Chemistry


To understand what is needed to achieve effective cleaning, it is helpful to have a basic knowledge of soap and detergent chemistry.
Detergent [a detergent is a surfactant or a mixture of surfactants having "cleaning properties in dilute solutions”. Commonly, "detergent" refers to alkylbenzenesulfonates, a family of compounds that are similar to soap but are less affected by hard water.]

a) Hydrophilic ~ inorganic, water loving [: compounds that have an affinity to water and are usually charged or have polar side groups to their structure that will attract water]

b) Lipophilic (Hydrophobic) ~ organic, water hateing [: compounds that are repelled by water and are usually neutral (zero charges.)]

Surfactants have a polar group at one end (hydrophilic) and a non-polar group at the other end (lipophilic). The interaction of these two groups in water will reduce the surface tension of water. One end is inorganic and mixes with water, the other end is organic, and will dissolve other organic compounds; a detergent solution will dissolve both organic and inorganic soils

These terms have much to do with the structure of water itself. Water consists of two hydrogen atoms joined to one oxygen atom (H2O) all in a triangular pattern. The oxygen is negatively charged whilst the hydrogen end is positively charged. Thus, water molecules are actually attracted to each other and form hydrogen bonds.

Water is inorganic and anything that will mix with water is hydrophilic. Oil and anything that will mix with oil are hydrophobic, which is organic, so when water and oil are mixed they separate (See also Emulsion)

a) Soap refers to a liquid cleanser with a slightly acidic pH

b) Detergents usually contain surfactants (laundry or specialist cleaners) although most car wash concentrates contain detergents

How Soaps and Detergents Work

Effective cleaning requires three different types of energy; 1. Kinetic (agitation) 2.Chemical (surfactants and enzymes) 3. Reactivity (heat) these types of energy interact and should be in proper balance. Let's look at how they work together:

Warm or hot water melts fats and oils so that it is easier for the soap or detergent to dissolve the soil and pull it away into the rinse water.

Thermal energy (hot water) gets things cleaner along with mechanical energy (abrasion) and chemicals (surfactants and etc.); if you reduce the thermal energy you need to increase the other two to compensate. 
However, there are some newer surfactants and enzymes that work in cold water
 Let's assume we have oily, greasy soil. Water alone will not remove this soil. One important reason is that oil and grease present in soil repel the water molecules. Now let's add soap or detergent. The surfactant's water-hating end is repelled by water but attracted to the oil in the soil. At the same time, the water-loving end is attracted to the water molecules.
These opposing forces loosen the soil and suspend it in the water. Warm or hot water helps dissolve grease and oil in the soil. Kinetic energy, agitation or hand rubbing helps pull the soil free so it can be flush rinsed away

Alkali
An alkali is a soluble salt of an alkali metal like sodium or potassium. Originally, the alkalis used in soap making were obtained from the ashes of plants, but they are now made commercially. Today, the term alkali describes a substance that chemically is a base (the opposite of an acid) and that reacts with and neutralizes an acid.

The common alkalis used in soap making are sodium hydroxide (NaOH), also called caustic soda; and potassium hydroxide (KOH), and also called caustic potash

A product that has a pH 9-12 (low to moderate alkalinity) is a suitable cleaner for most detailing tasks, whereas pH 13-14 is too high. A product that has a pH 8 – 10 (low to moderate alkalinity) is a suitable cleaner for most finished leather detailing tasks, whereas pH 12-14 is too high 
Amines
Monoethanolamine (MEA), Diethanolamides (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA) are used in cosmetics as "buffers" and "emulsifiers". That is to say, they help control a solution's pH balance (buffer) and they also help water-based and oil-based ingredients work together (emulsification, they also serve as anti-foaming agents.

Chelators
Are used in chemical analysis, as water softeners, and are ingredients in many commercial products. Citric acid is used to soften water in soaps and laundry detergents. Chelators are commonly used in industrial manufacturing as detergent additives, stabilizing agents, preservatives, and flavour and colour retainers. Ethylenediaminetetra acetic acid (EDTA) is one of the most popular. It is an agent that is capable of forming either four or six bonds with metal ions. EDTA is widely used for enhancing the cleaning power of detergents and soaps by forming chelates with the magnesium and calcium metals in hard water.

Catalyst
A catalyst works by lowering the activation energy for a reaction, thus dramatically increasing the rate of the reaction. As a result, products are formed faster and reactions reach their equilibrium state more rapidly. Most reaction rates are millions of times faster than those of comparable un-catalysed reactions. A catalysts is not consumed by the reactions they catalyse, nor do they alter the equilibrium of these reactions.

Controlling pH
Popular chemicals include sodium hydroxide a caustic metallic base. It is used in many industries, mostly as a strong chemical base in the manufacture of soaps and detergents; it is often used to increase the alkalinity of a mixture or to neutralize acids

Chelators
Are used in chemical analysis, as water softeners, and are ingredients in many commercial products. Citric acid is used to soften water in soaps and laundry detergents. Chelators are commonly used in industrial manufacturing as detergent additives, stabilizing agents, preservatives, and flavour and colour retainers. ethylenediamine-tetra acetic acid (EDTA) is one of the most popular. It is an agent that is capable of forming either four or six bond with metal ions. EDTA is widely used for enhancing the cleaning power of detergents and soaps by forming chelates with the magnesium and calcium metals in hard water.

Cloud Point

[: the cloud point of a non-ionic surfactant solution, is the temperature at which  the mixture starts to phase separate and two phases appear, thus becoming cloudy]  

The temperature at which a surfactant becomes insoluble in water; this becomes important when designing detergents for use in hot water

Enzymes

[: are responsible for thousands of metabolic processes that sustain life. They are highly selective catalysts, greatly accelerating both the rate and specificity of metabolic chemical reactions]

Enzymes are proteins that catalyse (i.e., increase the rates of) chemical reactions. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process, called substrates, are converted into different molecules, called products. Almost all chemical reactions in a biological cell need enzyme in order to occur at rates sufficient for life. Since enzymes are selective for their substrates and speed up only a few reactions from among many possibilities, the set of enzymes made in a cell determines which metabolic pathways occur in that cell.

Like all catalysts, enzymes work by lowering the activation energy for a reaction, thus dramatically increasing the rate of the reaction. As a result, products are formed faster and reactions reach their equilibrium state more rapidly. Most enzyme reaction rates are millions of times faster than those of comparable un-catalyzed reactions. As with all catalysts, enzymes are not consumed by the reactions they catalyse, nor do they alter the equilibrium of these reactions. 
Enzyme cleaners use chemicals naturally manufactured by plants and animals that cause chemical reactions that break down specific types of chemicals. An enzyme is a type of protein that can break up complex molecules into smaller pieces. Contrary to popular belief, enzymes are not living things. Enzyme activity can be affected by other molecules: decreased by inhibitors or increased by activators. Many drugs and poisons are enzyme inhibitors. Activity is also affected by temperature (increases in temperatures speed up reactions and help the enzyme function and develop the end product even faster) pressure and chemical environment (i.e. pH)

Odour-causing bacteria are "food" for these microorganisms that is consumed by the bio-enzymatic cleaners are converted into two basic compounds: carbon dioxide and water. Because enzymes only work on specific types of chemicals; proteins, lipids, sugars, enzyme cleaners must be matched to their purpose.

Enzyme cleaners work quickly by bio-degrading the stain, they will eliminate grease, oil, dirt, grime, vomit, urine, blood, coffee or food into its basic carbon, hydrogen or oxygen element, thereby eliminating the problem. Enzyme cleaners are non-toxic and effective, they clean better than toxic and non-toxic detergents. Enzymes cleaners remove odours completely by breaking down the micro-particulates causing the odour. They are used mainly for carpet and upholstery cleaning. They will often remove tough stains and odours that other types of cleaners can’t. You can use different enzymes for different types of stains.

Emollients
Dishwashing detergents (Dawn, Cascade, Rinse Ad, etc.) contain emollients; an ingredient designed to protect a person's hands, by keeping them soft and prevent cracking and drying. However, emollients make the paint surface more difficult to dry and leave an oily residue, this thin film, which also aids ‘sheeting’ from glassware/glass surfaces.

The problem is that these emollients do not rinse away and you are left with a thin film on the vehicles paint surface, which will negatively impact product cross-linking and its durability. They also contain diethanolamines, which act as foaming agents or as emulsifiers
Emollients have three basic properties:

1. Occlusion - providing a layer of oil on the surface of the skin to slow water loss and thus increase the moisture content

2. Humectants (sheeting agent) - increasing the moisture-holding capacity of the stratum

3. Lubrication - adding slip to glide across the skin

Fats and Oils

The fats and oils used in soap making come from animal or plant sources. Each fat or oil is made up of a distinctive mixture of several different triglycerides. In a triglyceride molecule, three fatty acid molecules are attached to one molecule of glycerin. There are many types of triglycerides; each type consists of its own particular combination of fatty acids. Fatty acids are the components of fats and oils that are used in making soap.

They are weak acids composed of two parts: A carboxylic acid group consisting of one hydrogen (H) atom, two oxygen (O) atoms, and one carbon (C) atom, plus a hydrocarbon chain attached to the carboxylic acid group. Generally, it is made up of a long straight chain of carbon (C) atoms each carrying two hydrogen (H) atoms.
Optical Brightener

[: are dyes that absorb light in the ultraviolet and violet region (usually 340-370 nm) of the electromagnetic spectrum, and re-emit light in the blue region (typically 420-470 nm)]

Brighteners (Z)-Stilbene) is one of the several different chemicals used and were once commonly added to laundry detergents to replace whitening agents removed during washing and to make the clothes appear cleaner. Optical brighteners have replaced bluing which was formerly used to produce the same effect. Some brighteners can cause allergic reactions when in contact with skin, depending on the individual.

These synthetic chemicals that make fabrics appear to glow in the presence of ultraviolet light; something that is really clean shouldn’t be an optical illusion; they don't have anything to do with getting things clean -- they're only added to detergents to make us think our laundry is brighter and whiter than it really is. These agents absorb ultraviolet light and emit it back as visible blue light.

Optical brighteners are actually ultraviolet dyes that may be invisible under many lighting conditions; for an optical brightener to work properly it must be exposed to ultraviolet light usually from sunlight; thus, they’re not of much value if the light falling on the treated surface is mainly incandescent (light bulbs).
There are additional potential problems with the use of optical brighteners; one of these is its tendency to yellow with age, which is one of the reasons that carpet and furniture manufacturers discourage its use. This chemical is not biodegradable and can pass through wastewater treatment plants and endanger aquatic plants and fish

Phosphates
Sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP) is an ingredient used to enhance the performance capabilities of automatic dishwasher detergents. They contribute buffering strength, sequestering (or chelating) power, dispersion and absorptive capabilities, and solubility. 

They not only strip food and grease from dishes but also prevent food debris becoming reattached during the wash. Phosphates are usually used as compounds of phosphate ions in combination with one or more common elements, such as sodium, calcium, potassium, and aluminium
Seventeen states banned phosphates from dishwasher detergents because the chemical compounds also pollute lakes, bays and streams as they create algae blooms and starve fish of oxygen.

Surfactants

Surfactants perform other important functions in cleaning, such as loosening, emulsifying (dispersing in water) and holding soil in suspension until it can be rinsed away. Surfactants can also provide alkalinity, which is useful in removing acidic soils. Surfactants are classified by their ionic (electrical charge) properties in water: anionic (negative charge), non-ionic (no charge), cationic (positive charge) and amphoteric (either positive or negative charge).

Many surfactants will adhere to a painted surface to enhance gloss or stop water spotting or because they see the paint protection product as rather similar in structure to the oils they like to bond with. Many products that contain surfactant will leave a film on the paint surface, which attracts water so masking any beading or sheeting.

Be cognizant that not all surfactants do the same thing, nor do they do it to the same degree. A surfactant is to all intents a ‘wetting agent’, which helps to evenly spread the product, different surfactants have different ability to wet surfaces. Beading and sheeting (hydrophobic and hydrophilic) are really just differences in hydrophobicity. 

I think this illustrates the importance of detailers understanding the ‘science’ of cleaning, and to this end, it is helpful to have a basic knowledge of soap and detergent chemistry and what is needed to achieve effective cleaning

A simplistic explanation of a surfactant is an emulsified oil, with very good adhesion.
Soap is an anionic surfactant. Other anionic, as well as non-ionic surfactants, are the main ingredients in today's detergents. The chemistry of surfactants- soaps are water-soluble sodium or potassium salts of fatty acids. Soaps are made from fats and oils, or their fatty acids

Sulphates
Sodium lauryl sulphate, sodium Laureth sulphate, ammonium lauryl sulphate, ammonium laureth sulphate, TEA lauryl sulphate, and TEA Laureth sulphate are collectively called sulphates; sulphates are surfactants, which create foam and suds
Water

The liquid solvent most commonly used for cleaning has a property called surface tension. In the body of the water, each molecule is surrounded and attracted by other water molecules. However, at the surface, other water molecules only on the waterside surround those molecules. A tension is created as the water molecules at the surface are pulled into the body of the water. This tension causes water to bead up on surfaces (glass, fabric), which slows wetting of the surface and inhibits the cleaning process.

You can see surface tension at work by placing a drop of water onto a counter top. The drop will hold its shape and will not spread. In the cleaning process, surface tension must be reduced so water can spread and wet surfaces. Chemicals that are able to do this effectively are called surface-active agents, or surfactants. They are said to make water "wetter."

Water Temperature

Reactivity – [: the tendency of a substance to undergo chemical reaction and to release energy].
Warm or hot water melts fats and oils so that it is easier for the soap or detergent to dissolve the soil and pull it away into the rinse water. Thermal energy (hot water) gets things cleaner along with mechanical energy (abrasion) and chemicals (surfactants and etc.); if you reduce the thermal energy you need to increase the other two to compensate. However there are some newer surfactants and enzymes that work better in cold water. The temperature at which a surfactant becomes insoluble in water; this becomes important when designing detergents for use in hot water work at 85 0 F (30°C) or below.

How Water Hardness Affects Cleaning Action
Although soap is a good cleaning agent, its effectiveness is reduced when used in hard water. Hardness in water is caused by the presence of mineral salts - mostly those of calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg), but sometimes also iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn). The mineral salts react with soap to form an insoluble precipitate known as soap film or scum.

Soap film does not rinse away easily. It tends to remain behind and produces visible deposits on clothing and makes fabrics feel stiff. It also attaches to the insides of bathtubs, sinks and washing machines.
Some soap is used up by reacting with hard water minerals to form the film. This reduces the amount of soap available for cleaning. Even when clothes are washed in soft water, some hardness minerals are introduced by the soil on clothes. Soap molecules are not very versatile and cannot be adapted to today's variety of fibres, washing temperatures and water conditions.

All Purpose Cleaner (APC)
An all-purpose cleaner (APC) (pH 9.5 – 12.5 dependent upon mfg.) is an aggressive, grease-cutting cleaner for engine compartments and wheels. It’s better to use a specific stain remover than to compromise. Always select a chemical / cleaner that are biodegradable, environmentally friendly and safe to use by observing any precautions recommended so that they won’t harm you, your vehicle or the environment
Many well-intentioned detailers use the so-called all-purpose cleaning (APC) chemical for detailing. Using a product like Simple Green or a degreaser to clean everything from wheels to carpets is both dangerous and harmful to the materials used for modern automobile materials. A safer alternate is a limonene (citrus-based) solvent, they are biodegradable, environmentally friendly and safe to use. There is no such thing as a one size fits all type chemical cleaner, regardless of what a car care product vendor would have you believe.
Most detailing chemicals are formulated to remove specific stains and a little knowledge of their pH and chemical content will help in their correct selection and use; the most common types of chemicals include surfactants, solvents, wetting agents, Saponifiers and Chelators
How Soaps are made-
Soaps are mixtures of sodium or potassium salts of fatty acids, which can be derived from oils or fats by reacting them with an alkali (such as sodium or potassium hydroxide) in a process known as saponification.
Saponification of fats and oils is the most widely used soap making process. This method involves heating fats and oils and react them with a liquid alkali to produce soap and water (neat soap) plus glycerine.
The other major soap making process is the neutralization of fatty acids with an alkali. Fats and oils are hydrolysed (split) with a high-pressure steam to yield crude fatty acids and glycerine. The fatty acids are then purified by distillation and neutralized with an alkali to produce soap and water (neat soap).
When the alkali is sodium hydroxide, sodium soap is formed. Sodium soaps are "hard" soaps. When the alkali is potassium hydroxide, potassium soap is formed. Potassium soaps are softer and are found in some liquid hand soaps and shaving creams. The carboxyl ate end of the soap molecule is attracted to water. It is called the hydrophilic (water-loving) end. The hydrocarbon chain is attracted to oil and grease and repelled by water. It is known as the hydrophobic (water-hating) end.
How Water Hardness Affects Cleaning Action
Although soap is a good cleaning agent, its effectiveness is reduced when used in hard water. Hardness in water is caused by the presence of mineral salts - mostly those of calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg), but sometimes also irons (Fe) and manganese (Mn). The mineral salts react with soap to form an insoluble precipitate known as soap film or scum. Soap film does not rinse away easily. It tends to remain behind and produces visible deposits on clothing and makes fabrics feel stiff. It also attaches to the insides of bathtubs, sinks and washing machines.
Reacting with hard water minerals to form the film uses up some soap. This reduces the amount of soap available for cleaning. Even when clothes are washed in soft water, some hardness minerals are introduced by the soil on clothes. Soap molecules are not very versatile and cannot be adapted to today's variety of fibres, washing temperatures and water conditions.
Surfactants in detergents
Definition [: compounds that lower the surface tension of a liquid, the interfacial tension between two liquids, or that between a liquid and a solid. Surfactants may act as detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, and dispersants]
Surfactants actually reduce the surface tension of water by a factor of three or more. A detergent is an effective cleaning product because it contains one or more surfactants. Because of their chemical makeup, the surfactants used in detergents can be engineered to perform well under a variety of conditions. Sodium stearate, the most common component of most soap, which comprises about 50% of commercial surfactants; such surfactants are less sensitive than soap to the hardness minerals in water and most will not form a film. Detergent surfactants were developed in response to a shortage of animal and vegetable fats and oils during World War I and World War II. In addition, a substance that was resistant to hard water was needed to make cleaning more effective. At that time, petroleum was found to be a plentiful source for the manufacture of these surfactants.
Surfactants are common to both washing-up liquids and car care products; namely Sodium laureth sulphate, or sodium lauryl ether sulphate (SLES) a foaming agent, Dodecylbenzene sulphonic acid (neutralised with Sodium Hydroxide, Triethanolamine or Isopropanolamine).

Detergent surfactants are made from a variety of petrochemicals (derived from petroleum) and/or oleo chemicals (derived from fats and oils). Petrochemicals and Oleo chemicals like the fatty acids used in soap making, both petroleum and fats and oils contain hydrocarbon chains that are repelled by water but attracted to oil and grease in soils.

These hydrocarbon chain sources are used to make the water-hating end of the surfactant molecule. Other Chemicals, such as sulphur trioxide, sulphuric acid and ethylene oxide, are used to produce the water-loving end of the surfactant molecule.

Foaming agents, emulsifiers, and dispersants are all surfactants which suspend respectively, a gas (air) an immiscible liquid, or a solid in water or some other liquid. Although there is similarity in these functions, in practice the surfactants required to perform these functions differ widely. In emulsification, as an example - the selection of surfactant or surfactant system will depend on the materials to be used and the properties desired in the end product. An emulsion can be oil droplets suspended in water, oil in water emulsion, water suspended in a continuous oil phase, or a mixed emulsion. The surfactants form what amounts to a protective coating around the suspended material, and these hydrophilic ends associate with the neighbouring water molecules.

Solubilisation - is a function closely related to emulsification. As the size of the emulsified droplet becomes smaller, a condition is reached where this droplet and the surfactant micelle are the same size. At this stage, an oil droplet can be imagined as being in solution in the hydrophobic tails of the surfactant and the term solubilisation is used. Emulsions are milky in appearance and solubilised oils, for example - are clear to the eye.

Detergency- the function of detergency or cleaning is a complex combination of all the previous functions. The surface to be cleaned and the soil to be removed must initially be wet and the soils suspended, solubilised, dissolved or separated in some way so that the soil will not just re-deposit on the surface in question

All surfactants have the following features: they make the removal of dirt easier by reducing the surface tension between the water and the paint surface, they produce foam, and this foam suspends dirt and stops it from being re-deposited.

There are surfactants that use Marangoni stress to prevent droplet formation, Since a liquid with a high surface tension pulls more strongly on the surrounding liquid than one with a low surface tension, the presence of a gradient in surface tension will naturally cause the liquid to flow away from regions of low surface tension so that water drains from the surfaces in thin sheets, rather than forming droplets, its drawback is that it leaves a thin film on the dried surface.

The benefits of using it are that it prevents "spotting" caused by droplets of water drying and leaving behind dissolved lime scale minerals, and can also improve drying performance as there is less water remaining to be dried its drawback is that it leaves a thin film on the dried surface.

Ionic and non-ionic surfactant - zwitter-ionic (amphoteric) surfactants have both cationic and anionic centres attached to the same molecule. The cationic part is based on primary, secondary, or tertiary amines or quaternary ammonium cations. The anionic part can be more variable and include sulfonates, as in CHAPS (3-[(3-Cholamidopropyl) dimethylammonio]-1-propanesulfonate). Other anionic groups are sultaines illustrated by cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine. Betaines, e.g., cocamidopropyl Betaines Phosphates: lecithin

Zwitterionic (amphoteric) surfactants have both cationic and anionic centres attached to the same molecule.

How Detergent Surfactants Are Made Anionic Surfactants
The chemical reacts with hydrocarbons derived from petroleum or fats and oils to produce new acids similar to fatty acids. A second reaction adds an alkali to the new acids to produce one type of anionic surfactant molecule. First converting the hydrocarbon to an alcohol and then react with the fatty alcohol with ethylene oxide produce non-ionic surfactants non-ionic surfactant molecules. These non-ionic surfactants can be reacted further with sulphur containing acids to form another type of anionic surfactant.

How Soaps and Detergents work

Soap is usually a blend of several surfactants, which are two opposing polar groups, hydrophilic and a non-polar group lipophilic. The interaction of these two groups in water will reduce the surface tension of water from 72 to 35 dynes/cm soap creates foam by trapping air inside, which is about 95% air and 5% soap / water, this foam has no effect on its cleaning ability. The/surfactants use emulsification to dissolve and encapsulate oily particles and that reduces the amount of active surfactants left in the bucket. So if the surface is very oily, you will see a substantial drop in the suds and therefore a reduction in its cleaning ability.

These types of energy interact and should be in proper balance. Let's look at how they work together. Let's assume we have oily, greasy soil on clothing. Water alone will not remove this soil. Nearly all compounds fall into one of two categories: hydrophilic ('water-loving') and hydrophobic ('water-hating'). Water and anything that will mix with water are hydrophilic. Oil and anything that will mix with oil are hydrophobic. When water and oil are mixed they separate.

Hydrophilic and hydrophobic compounds just don't mix. These opposing forces loosen the soil and suspend it in the water. Warm or hot water helps dissolve grease and oil in soil.

Washing machine agitation or hand rubbing helps pull the soil free. The cleansing action of soap is determined by its polar and non-polar structures in conjunction with an application of solubility principles.

 One important reason is that oil and grease present in soil repel the water molecules. Now let's add soap or detergent. The surfactant's water-hating end (lipophilic) is repelled by water but attracted to the oil in the soil. At the same time, the water-loving end (hydrophilic) is attracted to the water molecules.

Back when laundry was done with soap flakes, suds level was an indicator of cleaning performance. So, many people today think that a good rich level of suds is necessary for clean laundry. However, this is no longer true. Today's detergents are formulated to have any suds level desired without affecting cleaning performance. "They make the removal of dirt easier by adding surfactants that reduce the surface tension between the water and the paint surface.

In reality suds (a chemical foaming agent - Diethanolamides or Sodium laureth sulphate or sodium lauryl ether sulphate) do absolutely nothing to clean, they are simply a structure that a portion of the solution had taken due to being mixed with air; they still contain the same ratio of soap. They are however, a good indicator of the amount of active soap in the solution.
The amount of foaming produced has nothing to do with its cleaning efficiency (although it does provide a means of encapsulation as well as acting a cushion between the paint surfaces and cleaning tool)  They are there simply because we are so engrained with the idea that soap suds do the cleaning that it is impossible to use anything else.

In almost all detergents the suds are made by a foaming agent, not by the cleaning agents in the detergent. In fact, industrial cleaners usually have no foaming agents and specialized users do not want suds. Think of a hand degreaser, or rinse less car washes (ONR) there are no suds yet it sure does the job

Car Wash Concentrates

A good quality car wash should provide a slightly alkaline pH and a balanced blend of active biodegradable ingredients, to provide lubrication to prevent scratching, surfactants and enzymes to lift and encapsulate dirt, road grime and oils. A humectant or sheeting agent attracts and retains the moisture in the air nearby via absorption, drawing the water vapour into and/or beneath the organism/object's surface. By contrast, desiccants also attract ambient moisture, but adsorb—not absorb—it, by condensing the water vapour onto the surface, as a layer of film

Washing-up Liquids (Detergent)

The use of this type of detergent has been debated for years among car detailing enthusiasts. Problems arise when people use dish washing liquid as their normal car wash soap. From a chemical standpoint using dishwashing detergents to clean a porous, sensitive clear coat paint surface is very poor choice.  

 Notable brands of dishwashing liquid include Procter & Gamble’s Dawn®, which is the leading brand in the United States, and Fairy Liquid, which is the bestselling brand in the United Kingdom and similar type dish washing liquids chemistry relies primarily on detergent and surfactant technology. This type of chemistry has advanced to the point that it can be engineered to specific soils (i.e. organic grease)

Detergent and soap chemistry and product formulation is a lot more complicated than this, suffice it to say; modern car wash formulations are automotive soil specific. As a means of paint surface preparation and the removal of wax / polymer sealants it’s not very effective as paint protection products are usually formulated to be detergent resistant

 [Your car surface and the dirt that gets on it are a lot different from the food soils and dishes that dishwashing liquids clean effectively. We don't recommend them for cleaning your car] Proctor and Gamble
See also FAQ Proctor and Gamble website - http://www.dawn-dish.com/en_US/questionsaboutdawn.do

Water quality
Such as pH values, mineral content, harness, etc. surfactants used and other characteristics will affect how well a car wash concentrate works. As well as conditioners to maintain the shine without stripping the paint of essential oils (the way detergents do) and dispersing them in the rinsing process, warm water (not hot) will improve the cleaning abilities of wash concentrates.

The amount of foaming produced has nothing to do with its cleaning efficiency (although it does provide a means of encapsulation as well as acting a cushion between the paint surfaces and cleaning tool) when laundry was done with soap flakes; suds level was an indicator of cleaning performance. Many people still equate a good rich level of suds with cleaning; however, this is no longer true. Today's quality car wash concentrates are formulated with anionic surfactants that have a very low suds level without affecting cleaning performance. One of the advantages of this formulation is that road dirt and grime are encapsulated in its structure (micelles), which makes for very easy and efficient rinsing.

The harsh detergents found in some car wash soaps contain sodium silicate or sodium hydroxide may etch the surface of the clear-coat leaving white residue or dulling the entire finish. Car wash concentrates that contain a high foaming (suds) agent can be corrosive, if sodium (salt) is used as an agent to create the foaming. The usual dilution is l oz. per two gallons water (using a lesser dilution will leave a film on the paint surface) Avoid products that contain harsh detergents as they will emulsify and leach out any oils or waxes that provide protection and/or flexibility

I would like to think that these articles become an asset to anyone who is new to detailing and to professional’s alike, as well as industry experts who seek to advance their knowledge.

I hope the above article was informative. By having some understanding of the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ as well as the ‘How’ along with a little science to help you understand how the chemicals we use react, you can achieve the results you desire.

I would appreciate it if you would share this article as it helps other detailers further their knowledge.
Questions and/ or constructive comments are always appreciated.

Copyright © 2002 - 2012 TOGWT® (Established 1980) all rights reserved


Saturday, 26 August 2017

Paint Protection Film (PPF)


When I first heard the name Clear Bra, visions of the latest Victoria's Secret catalogue designs ran through my head. I just had to investigate, strictly in pursuit of car care related information, of course.

Paint protection film (PPF) products protect the leading edge of your vehicle from damage caused by rocks, gravel, salt or insects through the application of a thin and virtually invisible urethane paint protection3M Clear Shield, Avery, Durashield, Hartz, Llumar, Premier Protective Films, Stevens Venture Tape XPEL and probably a few others I am forgetting.

Clearly; the best protection if you’re proud of your vehicle. Paint Protection Film (PPF) AKA Clear Bra is a thermoplastic urethane film that is applied to the leading painted surfaces of a new or used car in order to protect the paint from stone chips, bug splatter, and minor abrasions.

Designed to provide years of protection (approx.5-8 years) against road debris, environmental elements, bugs, and abrasions and it can be removed without harming the painted surface. The film has UV inhibitors to maintain the clarity for the life of the installation. It will not change color or turn yellow.

Paint protection film is usually supplied in 50 µ(micron) thickness (although its available in 203µ in bulk roll form, for cut-to-fit applications on hoods, fenders, bumpers, mirrors, rocker panels, and lights, or in pre-cut customized application kits for a wide variety of cars and trucks. Installation - professional application is recommended for best results.

Consider this; [an impact is a high force or shock applied over a short time period when two or more bodies collide.] A high-velocity collision or impact doesn’t provide sufficient time for deformation to occur; different materials can behave in quite different ways in impact when compared with static loading conditions. Thus, the struck material behaves as if it were more brittle than it is, and the majority of the applied force goes into fracturing the impacted material.

If the surface area of impacting object is really small while maintaining an equal force, the applied (PSI) pressure becomes astronomical and the object is capable of penetrating the surface of an otherwise tough material. PPF is not immune to this type of damage although it has a flexible membrane to capture and partially absorb the impact energy; but an impact at high velocity (in this case road grit with an impact speed of 50 + MPH, the damage is proportionate to the relative velocity of the vehicle) which due to it short impact ‘time scale’ lessens the films ability to stretch and deform but will considerably lessen sustained damage

The Columbia disaster was caused by impact damage when a (relatively) small piece of polyurethane foam impacted the carbon fibre composite wing of the space shuttle. Although tests had been conducted before the disaster, the size of the piece was much smaller than that which fell away from the booster rocket and hit the exposed wing.

Installation

It is important to remember that paint protection film application is not considered to be a do-it-yourself project. For best results, professional application is recommended.

The finished products quality is only as good as the installation. Searching out a good installer is not an easy task as many companies make outrageous claims of experience and expertise. The most important thing is to see what type of coverage you will get and whether or not it will be in one-piece, especially for the front bumper. Companies that use 1 piece for bumpers are generally more skilled at paint protection film installations

Very few dealerships do this type of work in-house; most sub-contract the installation to their choice of vendors. Usually, this choice is based solely on pricing so that they can obtain the highest margin; every dealership has their own policy in vendor markups. Unfortunately, this also means that you have multiple installers bidding for the same dealership. When this happens, you will likely get the least experienced installer performing the job for the lowest price, which often compromises quality.

Windshield Vinyl
Using the same patented technology Racing Optics™ has developed a tear offs system for car windshields. This product can be considered not only as a way to have a clearer vision but as a windshield protector as well. We use a sturdy 4mil thick material that is pre laminated in layers of four.

This tear offs system for windshields is an install the only product. Please contact one of their partner companies to learn more about how to have Racing Optics laminated windshield products installed on your race or passenger car.

Surface Preparation
Ensure that there are no paint surface imperfections before installation, the paint should be free of any silicone, wax or polymer sealant to ensure the adhesive will bond correctly. It is important to remember that paint protection film application is not considered to be a do-it-yourself project. For best results, professional application is recommended.

Vinyl Auto Body Wrap
Vinyl body wraps are becoming an increasingly popular aftermarket accessory, changing the look of a car as well as preserving the original paint from chips and scratches
PPF is a clear urethane film that is designed to be applied onto paint’s surface to provide maximum protection for as long as the film stays on the paint. There are various brands of paint protection film on the market (3M, Avery, Bekaert, Llumar, Madico, Premier Protective Films  and Venture)
Clear film vinyl wrap has many advantages. For one, you basically save time and money on repairs normally requiring bodywork. Repairs such as paint chips, the car getting keyed, scrapes and scuffs, etc, as the film protects you from all that and keeps the car original and body repair work-free.

Regular solid colour vinyl wraps approximately $1,500 -3000, Custom design $2000 – 3,000 (USD April 2011).

Several things to keep in mind:
1. Installation is the key - no bubbles, no wrinkles
2. Also part of installation experience - razor cuts in paint. Be sure to check to see what their warranty is on razor paint cuts.
3. Pre-installation- a completely clean surface free of any products or contaminants is a requirement. Installers will use a chemical paint cleaner to enable the adhesives used to adhere efficiently
4. Vinyl can be removed without harming OEM paint. If you have aftermarket paint, then there is a chance of paint coming up with the vinyl
5. Paint can take 1-2 weeks for an entire car. Vinyl can be applied in 2-4 days depending on the shop's capabilities/manpower
6. Retain OEM paint. When you get tired of the vinyl, it can be removed and redone with another colour without affecting the underlying paint
7. Do not use products that contain petroleum distillates as urethane absorbs them and causes it to yellow.
8. Always remove stains as soon as possible using a mild detergent
9. Repainting an entire car properly would cost anywhere from $8k-$12k depending on the exact vehicle vs. typical vinyl installations ( ~ $3k Premier Protective Films)
10. In general, the amount of orange peel is directly proportionate with the texture of the liner the material is laminated to. If the liner is made of paper, you will see a higher amount of orange peel. If it is on a smooth, optically clear plastic liner (such as polyester), you will have no orange peel.
11. Care and maintenance recommendations are often dependent upon manufacturers grade of film

Cleaning / Care
I would test any product on an inconspicuous spot first. The material used to fabricate paint protection film (PPF) can vary dramatically and respond quite differently so use caution
Swisswax Opaque products for Matte Satin finish vinyl wraps have been specifically developed (oil free) to ensure that they don’t change the appearance of matt satin paint or vinyl wraps.

1. Wash surface with Swisswax (SV) Opaque Car Bath
2. Prior to wax application the wrap needs to be totally free from oils and dirt. Clean all wrapped surfaces with SV Opaque Pre-cleaner. 
3. Spray a 100% cotton micro fibre towel and apply to one panel at a time.
4. Wipe off with a clean 100% cotton towel
5. Apply SV Opaque Wax to one panel at a time, this wax will provide depth without adding a shine
6. Allow to dry for 10 minutes before buffing off and moving to the next section.
7. After the wax has out gassed and set-up, allow 2-3 hours and then  buff the surface with a soft 100% cotton micro fibre towel
8. Use Quick Finish Opaque as a quick detailer to remove finger marks and smudges

Alternative products- Optimum Polymer Technologies Opti-Coat 2.0 is a professional grade paint coating that forms a permanent shield on your car’s finish. It is not a wax or paint sealant, both of which are sacrificial in nature and degrade over time, but is a glossy, clear coating that uses advanced resin technology to protect PPF, paint, wheels, plastic trim, metal surface, and head lights.

Solvents
Why is it important not to use products containing petroleum based solvents? Acrylic, polycarbonates, and plastics are all porous materials. They will absorb whatever you place on their surface over time. Avoid using any products containing petroleum distillates, as they will remove the plasticisers from the urethane film and it will absorb dirt and road grime like a sponge. They also have the ability to degrade the backing and/or adhesive as well its effect on dulling or creating inconsistent clarity on the surface of the film.

Petroleum based solvents will break down, deteriorate and cause the surface to yellow, there are many ways solvents are introduced to transparencies: washer/cleaner fluids, jet fuel, de-icing fluids, paint thinners, unapproved window cleaners, and polishes. It is very important to read the labels of the products you use around your transparencies. Anything containing, petroleum distillates, ammonia, or alcohol is not recommended.

Loss of Gloss or Shine
Wash surface to remove any dirt or road grime and then dry thoroughly. To restore the gloss to clear vinyl use a heat-gun 24-inches from the surface using slow oscillating motions, be patient as this takes time (approx. 30 minutes or so) gradually the vinyl's gloss will be restored.

(PPF) Film Yellowing
The film itself is optically clear, most ‘yellowing ‘on clear film is caused by oils, road grime, diesel smoke and dirt from the road and other environmental contaminants staining the film, as opposed to ultra violet (UV-B) photosynthesis.

The exception to this is where a solvent or other chemical has been used on the film that causes a yellowing reaction with the polyurethane (Kerosene, Toluene, and Xylene) and some other solvents or propellants commonly used in many adhesive removers. Toluene can be used in small quantities without adverse effects, but in concentrated form, if left on film and not neutralized right after use it will cause yellowing.
Toluene will degrade polymers, so do not use on headlights indicator lenses or urethane convertible rear. Also, any products that are formulated with petroleum distillates (paraffin wax, etc) will also cause yellowing
This usually happens when using a liquid wax product, which uses kerosene as a solvent for its carrier system or some bug and tar removers which contain the solvents already mentioned. If the contaminants are allowed to permeate too deep into the pores of the film, it can be difficult or impossible to remove.

Best prevention is to seal the film with a polyurethane safe sealant to slow down the absorption, and then clean it regularly with a purpose made cleaner.

The chemicals within some plastic cleaners can actually be harmful to the film if left on for an extended period of time.  Certain propellants within aerosol canisters are responsible for excessively drying out the pores of the clear bra, which then leaves them open to the elements and yellowing.   Plexus tends to yellow, just take a look at the white nozzle after some time; it actually turns yellow. It also contains butane, which dries out the micropores of the urethane film

Do not use products that contain butane, propane, dyes, aerosols that use isobutene (methyl propane) as a propellant, or petroleum distillates solvents
1. Swisswax Car Bath Opaque shampoo concentrate (500 litres of wash solution) developed for satin matt finishes or Optimum Technologies ONR, which due to its surfactants and high lubricity makes an ideal wash product for PPF or vinyl wraps
2. Premier Protective Films - PF1 TT a deep cleaning surfactant based product. It is designed to remove oils and environmental contaminants, which are the primary cause of yellowing. It is sprayed on and rinsed off, rather than sprayed on and wiped off.
3. To clean stains use a citrus based cleaner (P12S Total Auto Wash) polish the paint and the clear plastics separately, tape the edges with masking tape (3M Fine Line ) 0.25-inch masking tape
4. Use Z-14 Plastic Magic Cleaner & Polish™ or Premier Protective Films International (PF1) Film Cleanse for maintenance and to remove any finger marks/smudges
5. Remove surface contaminants with a mild cut detailer’s clay (Sonus Mild Green clay)  Be sure to wash the surface of the film first and. keep it well lubricated, tape the edges
6. To clean and maintain the surface any product used on a clear bra should be optically clear and provide UV protection (Z8 Grand Finale Spray Seal or PF1 Crystalline) The design of the nano crystals within Crystalline will bond with the acrylic clear coat of your paint protection film providing a long-lasting protective coating
7. Product application - start at the centre and work outwards, do not use an abrasive compound on the plastic surface or detailer’s clay as it will cause micro-fine surface scratches.
8. Another caution is to avoid buffing over the seams, which creates a noticeable wax line as well.
9. Use only a mild to light duty clay, applied to a clean, washed surface. Do not use clay over dirt covered film. Use plenty of surface lubrication. If you have a partial bra (not a full panel wrap) tape the seams.
10. To remove ‘clouding’ from the paint under the clear bra; the suns heat (infrared lamp, heat gun or a hairdryer) will remove it. Often it's the adhesive that’s used on the film that turns cloudy or yellow, not the film itself
11. Providing protection from ultra violet radiation (UVR) is very important to avoid photo synthesis (colour fading / yellowing)  UVR protection is a sacrificial/renewable component; this is due to the UV protection layer being degraded by exposure to the elements (sun, sand, road or sea salt, and etc) so it is imperative that you renew it and needs to be re-applied on a regular 45 to 60 day basis (dependent upon location and environmental conditions)

Application- use 303™ Space Protectant, spray product onto a micro fibre towel, gently wipe surface working from the centre outwards

Minor scratches - similar to a scratch in the paint, depending on how deep the scratch is will depend on how well you can remove it by polishing.

To remove minor scratches in the film; tape the edges of the paint protection film when using a machine polisher. Use Menzerna Polish (PO 106 FF- SF4000 or PO 85 U- FF3000) and Lake County (LC) Black Finishing foam pad (70 PPI) at 900 RPM/speed # 3-4, do not use any downward machine pressure and maintain a fast linear motion. It is important not to apply a lot of pressure to the film as this may lead to burning or smudging of the surface. Use a Q-tip and some isopropyl alcohol to clean out the edge. Depending on the severity of the indentation will depend on how well it can be removed or lightened up.

An alternative - Novus Plastic Scratch Remover with an LC Black pad using a PC speed # 4.

     What can be done about the wax build up along the seams and how can I avoid it? 
Are you sure it's wax and not the glue from the Clear Bra or dirt?  As it gets warm, some of them will shrink a little and leave residue around the edges.

Gently remove with an adhesive remover on a micro fibre towel. Be sure to go over any paint that you get the adhesive remover on with a protective wax; put a vinyl protection on any clear bra you get the adhesive remover on.
When waxing around a clear bra, mask off the line just a little over the edge with blue painter's tape. Wax will leave a white line on the seam, use painter’s tape to mask the seams before polishing/waxing and wax the film and uncovered portions separately to keep from wax build-up.
When you remove the tape just wipe off the wax on the paint. If you accidentally wax over the seam, use 3M Citrus Based Spray Adhesive Remover and a Q-Tip or a damp micro fibre towel and rub it off.

Maintenance / Care

· Maintenance cleaning - mix a 1:20 solution of Optimum No Rinse (ONR) and distilled water. Put the solution in a fine mist trigger spray bottle. Use a 100% cotton medium nap micro fibre towel to avoid static between the urethane PPF and a polyester Microfiber
· Premier Protective Films - PF1 TT is an advanced agent that attacks the marks and transfers at the micro-level to loosen up these particles so that it may be safely wiped off with a clean micro fibre towel. Most importantly, it can be utilized on paint protection film with a clear coat safely. Simply clean the area in which it will be applied. Next, spray on and in five seconds; begin wiping with a clean micro fibre towel. Repeat these steps as needed.
· Zaino Z-CS Clear Seal or PF1 Crystalline - wipe on, and wipe off (WOWO) walk away, no buffing, just allow to air dry. Use on paint, glass, wheels, plastic, clear bra, or trim for the protection, durability, slickness, and gloss. All surfaces are protected against potentially damaging exposure to the sun or ultraviolet light with UV inhibitors.
Products for clear Film

Premier Protective Films (PF1) Film Cleanse is a non-aerosol product that is designed specifically for the acrylic clear coat of today’s paint protection film. The clear coat on clear bras are very different from the clear coat on cars’ paint today, which is why Premier in early 2008 set out to develop a product that can properly clean paint protection film. The product will not dry out the pores of the film and does not carry any type of polish that can abrade the film. Film Cleanse is a deep cleaner with acrylic resins designed to lift the dirt off the film before cleaning/wiping. The product not only deep cleans, but it also does not strip the film of protective sealants and waxes. 16 oz bottle - $20

PF1 Crystalline - To properly protect the paint protection film on your car, Crystalline is your solution.  PF1 Crystalline assist in protecting the paint protection film (PPF) but it also provides added depth to the film. The product does not contain any dyes that can potentially yellow the clear bra. The design of the nano crystals within Crystalline will bond with the acrylic clear coat of your paint protection film providing a long-lasting protective coating that also adds a deep shine and gloss. Cure time for Crystalline is only 15 minutes vs. some paint sealants to take up to 8 hours to cure.  Once the crystals bond to the pores of the film’s clear coat, removal of the residue is easy and does not flake to a powdery form.  

PF1-Tire, Tar, and Rubber (TTR) - engineered by Premier to assist in removing tough, stubborn markings from paint protection film; this product can safely eliminate tough transfer from clear bras.  This has been tested on all major brands of film and has been successful in extracting track rubber, smudges, and colour transfers.  

Safe Removal of Bird Excrement
To safely remove bird excrement without causing scratches to the paint protection film (PPF) surface; use a solution of Optimum no-rinse (ONR) diluted 1:20 / distilled water in a fine mist spray bottle) and allow to remain in place as this will soften debris and allow it to be removed. Use very little surface pressure, dusting with long strokes in one direction only, this will lessen surface scratching as they ‘lift’ dust etc into the media
Use a long nap micro fibre towel to ensure the debris that is lifted from the PPF surface remains in the nap and not on the towel surface thereby causing surface marring. Shake the towel occasionally to ensure any particles picked up will drop out rather than come to the surface while you’re using it.

             Do not scrub hardened/dried excrement residue, birds use gravel to help digest their food so grit and sand are some of the major components, which can cause scratching as it is very abrasive and will scratch the PPF surface.

Once it softened (re-liquefied) it enables their removal with less likelihood of damage to the surface of the film.  Do not use on a hot paint surface (soon after driving) as this will cause streaking?

            Stains to remove stains from PPF surface use a safe solvent (P21S Total Auto Wash) a d-limonene (citrus) based cleaner or Isopropyl alcohol (IPA), it may take a few attempts to fully remove. Do not scrub hardened/dried excrement residue as it is very abrasive and will scratch the surface, once they are softened (re-liquefied) it enables their removal with less likelihood of damage to the PPF surface

Bug blood - whilst this doesn’t happen often, you may get the odd red or yellow bug blood stain on your film (you can help avoid this by regularly waxing the film). This is no big deal on MOST films this will bleach out in the sun, the blood does not penetrate the film but as some bug blood is used as a dye then it should be no surprise that this can occur. As Indicated this is a temporary problem with most films and will fade out over time in the sun, how long depends on the severity of the stain and intensity of the sun during bleaching out.

          Neutralization - Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda); first ensure the surface is cool. Mix a small amount (about 1/2 cup) of baking soda and a little water to make a paste (with the consistency of pancake syrup)Spread it on the affected surface working it around well and let it sit for ½ hr. Remove, rinse and dry.
Avoid using a QD spray to flush residue, as they contain either carnauba wax or polymer sealants, which will seal the acid and not allow it to dissipate. Using an alkaline rinse of baking soda and water (to neutralize the acid) as soon as is practical is highly recommended, if the affected paintwork is not neutralized any remaining acid residue will be reactivated by heat and moisture acting as a catalyst.

PPF Removal
Thoroughly inspect the film before attempting to remove it, look for any cuts in the paint as these will cause the paint to peel off during removal. It is not very difficult to remove, apply heat to a corner with a hair dryer (not a heat gun) and work slowly to avoid breaking or tearing the vinyl (like any applied vinyl, the longer it’s been applied the more difficult it will be to remove) pull upwards at a 45-degree angle, work slowly and be patient. Detailer’s clay and /or 1:1 Isopropyl Alcohol / distilled water or 3M Adhesive Remover to clean any adhesive residue.

Adhesive removal – 3M Citrus Based Spray Adhesive Remover – a citrus-based, solvent-free adhesive remover leaves surfaces clean and dries with no residue. Removes tape residue from masking, foam or duct tape, clean, fresh citrus scent. Saturate a micro fibre towel by allowing the product to remain in place for a few minutes and agitating the adhesive residue to remove 

Note:
1. Plexus tends to yellow just take a look at the white nozzle after some time; it actually turns yellow. It also contains butane, which dries out the micro-pores of the urethane  film
2. If the film is properly applied to a fully cured painted vehicle, it can be removed, usually in one piece, without damaging the paint surfaces beneath the film by pulling the film at an angle not straight up.
3. If this is a used car, speak with the previous owner to see if the film was applied to aftermarket paint. If it is be very careful because the paint may lift.
This doesn't happen with OEM paint, only some poorly prepped / primed aftermarket paint. Start on one corner and begin peeling / pulling towards your body at a slight angle.
4. Repainted vehicles, paint must be thoroughly dry and completely cured before any attempt to apply film to the vehicle is made, in order to avoid film bubbling (solvent pop) due to paint out-gassing. Check paint body shop and / or paint manufacturer's instructions for recommended cure time and method.
5. Avoid the use of products that are formulated with Butane as it dries out the pores of the film