Why use a wax on top of a polymer sealant?

Discussion in 'Last Steps: Waxes, Sealants, and Coatings' started by togwt, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. togwt

    togwt Nuba Guru

    Some detailers find that a polymer sealant tends have a flat, silvered mirror look. Adding a Carnauba wax to the surface provides depth of shine, gloss, jetting (the so called ‘wet look’) and a warmth to the paint surfaces overall look. Bear in mind that how a paint surface ‘looks’ is very subjective and tends to invoke an emotional reaction rather than a logical one 95% of an applied wax comprises out gassed solvent that is wiped away, whereas 65% of a polymer sealant that is applied remains.

    Detailers who prepare show cars will often layer a Carnauba wax on top of a synthetic wax; the synthetic wax acts as a gloss layer, while the carnauba wax adds depth and a wet-looking (jetting) appearance

    Polymer sealants

    Need a porous surface to bond to, they initially adhere by surface tension and then after a period in which the solvents /oils in the carrier system vaporize (outgas) the polymers cross-link to form a covalent (molecular) bond to the surface. This process usually requires 12-24 hours, which are time and temperature and / or humidity dependent.
    Note that drying and curing are two different processes. Drying generally refers to evaporation of the solvent or thinner, whereas curing (cross-linking) refers to polymerization of the binder, which imparts adhesion, binds the pigments together, and strongly influences such properties as gloss potential, exterior durability, flexibility, and toughness.

    When polymer chains are linked together extensively by chemical cross linking - the formation of covalent bonds between chains; the polymer is harder and more difficult to melt. Curing is required to allow the monomers (polymer building blocks) to attach to the surface and to polymerize into a crystal-clear, impervious film.

    It is very important to allow polymers to cure for 12 hours after the haze has been wiped off. If the coating is exposed to contamination such as oil, rain, water, cleaners, etc. before it has cross-linked, the contaminants may interfere with the film, preventing the polymer from achieving its maximum performance and durability. A polymer, unlike wax forms a molecular bond with paint once it’s had enough time to cross-linking, usually 12 – 24 hour.

    A unique aspect of polyurethane chemistry is that the hydrogen bonding acts as an additional crosslink, but also allows thermoplastic flow, which helps the paint surface to retain its elasticity and its tensile strength to relieve mechanical stress. The basic structure of a polyurethane clear coat features a soft segment (polyol or tetramethylene ether) which gives it flexibility and elasticity. There is also a hard segment (polymerization) that has high urethane density, which gives the coating hardness and tensile strength

    Carnauba wax

    Carnauba in today's wax formulas functions mostly as a carrier; it’s used to keep the polymers and oils on your car's surface. Only a small portion of your vehicle's shine comes from the wax itself. Carnauba is translucent at best with only minimal light reflection. It is among the hardest of natural waxes, being harder than concrete in its pure form
    This sacrificial barrier is all that stands between the environmental contaminants and the paint film surface and this renewable barrier is probably less than 0.1 µ (100 nm, 0.000 4 Mils or 0.000 004 inch) thick. An applied paint protection product is the barrier that provides protection for automotive paintwork besides the clear coat paint.

    An organic wax also provides a sacrificial surface that will resist acid (salt brine, bird excrement, acidic rain, etc) better than a polymer, which forms a molecular bond with the paint, whereas a an organic wax forms a semi-hard protective shell (although it lacks durability)

    © TOGWT ™ Ltd Copyright 2002-2010, all rights reserved
  2. detaildoc

    detaildoc Guest

    A lot of people do a wipedown with a QD not too long after applying a sealant or wax. Doesn't this affect the bonding and durability? How long would you recommend waiting to QD after a sealant and after a wax?
  3. billyblooshoes

    billyblooshoes DB Forum Supporter

    i made this mistake one time recently. my winter protection setup was DG Enviroshield topped with Petes 53, which yielded insanely tight beading. about 3 or 4 weeks later, i washed my car, and then decided to top off with another layer of Petes 53. for whatever reason, i had a bottle of 1Z Spray wax i was using on my jambs, and i decided to wipe down the whole car with it and at the next rain a couple days later, the beading was less than impressive (although the car was still well protected).
  4. togwt

    togwt Nuba Guru

    It would depend up on the formulation of the QD. In order to liquify wax you need to add a solvent, if you apply a solvent to a wax on the paint surface you will at best thin it out.

    A cross-linked sealent will resist solvent better than a wax
  5. dschia

    dschia Jedi Nuba

    Does heat affect the 12-24 hrs of curing?
  6. togwt

    togwt Nuba Guru

    Cross-linking is both time and temperature dependent; (infra-red) heat will accelerate the polymer cross-linking as will a polymer catalyzing additive (i.e. Duragloss 601 Polish Bonding Agent, Zaino ZFX™, with Flash Cure™ , Four Star Products - Polycharger ™ Wax Booster ™ )
  7. togwt

    togwt Nuba Guru

    The majority (70%) of a polymer matrix cross-linking cycle occurs within 30 – 45 minutes of its initial wipe-on application drying; however it is recommended that a period of 12 - 24 hours is allowed for the cross-linking process to complete, otherwise polymerization and durability may be compromised

    Although it should be noted that surface oils or silicone and / or moisture introduced before the cross-linking process is complete will interfere with the bonding of a polymer and will negatively affect its durability
  8. dsms

    dsms DB Forum Supporter

    Hence why I stopped doing QD wipedowns after LSP... I apply the night before its going back and let it sit then if needed go back with di water
  9. tin

    tin Any Rag Vehicle Washer

    no QD's for me.

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