You want to keep your vehicle safe from harm and protected from anything the elements or the road can throw its way. This is where coatings come into play – these durable, effective solutions create a strong and lasting barrier between your vehicle's surfaces and the outside world.
But there is more than one choice available to you when you search for a coating. You will find that both ceramic and graphene coatings can provide you with the protection you need. But which one is more effective? We'll be taking a look at this in more detail below.
Understanding the Coating Types
Before we can get into examining the different types of coating and exploring the differences between the two materials, we first need to understand what each term refers to exactly.
In basic terms, both materials are forms of coating that are applied to surfaces of both the exterior and interior of your auto. They are designed to protect these surfaces while still allowing the car to function in the right way and look its best. The difference lies in the composition of each material.
Ceramic coating includes the active ingredient of a liquid polymer, which is delivered within a clear liquid. The polymer within the liquid is designed to chemically bond with the vehicle's paint to create a long-lasting coat. The strong bond means that the ceramic coating cannot be removed via chemical means, and it can only be abraded or mechanically removed.
Graphene coating also includes this ceramic polymer ingredient. However, the ceramic has graphene molecules bonded to it. These molecules do not bond with the surface or the paintwork. Instead, they form the outer layer of the coating. The ceramic polymer still forms its bond with the vehicle.
The Differences Between Ceramic Coating and Graphene Coating
While both types of coating work in very similar ways and offer similar results, the difference in their molecular makeup gives each of them somewhat unique properties. Such properties may be important as you decide which coating to use.
We've covered some of the key points of difference below to help you select the best kind of coating for your vehicle and your project.
- Abrasion resistance
One of the major benefits of a ceramic coating is that it is resistant to chemical corrosion and erosion. However, while the vehicle is in operation, the coating remains at risk of damage from other sources. A significant proportion of this risk comes from abrasion and pressure placed upon the surface.
In the face of this kind of pressure, ceramic coating begins to fail. Over time, the abrasion will remove the coating from the surface, leaving areas of paintwork or material unprotected.
The graphene coating is designed to resist this kind of wear and tear from abrasion. It is also intended to be a better option for those looking for a more durable coating for their vehicle.
- Chemical resistance
One of the defining points of both types of coating is that a chemical bond is formed between the coatings and the surface that is being protected. This bond is formed between chemicals on a molecular level and is designed to protect against the removal of the coating.
This function is built into the composition of both ceramic and graphene coatings, so both offer chemical resistance by their very nature. However, it could be argued that the additional layer of graphene molecules makes the graphene coating more resistant to chemicals.
Water damage is a key concern for car owners in New Zealand. While paintwork and treatments keep water at bay, if gaps begin to open up, problems can quickly begin to appear. This is why hydrophobia is such a key measure for any automotive coating.
Both graphene and standard ceramic coatings repel and get rid of water effectively. However, in order to be removed, this water still needs to travel across the surface of the vehicle – just like rainwater will flow quickly off a near-vertical car door but may stick around on a roof surface at near-horizontal.
Graphene coverings will allow water to travel off the surface more easily, reducing the angle of tilt that is required to make water "slide" off the vehicle. The graphene layer also makes the surface less resistant to the water as it travels over the surface, reducing the effects of erosion that may take place over time.
Both ceramic and graphene coatings are applied in the same way, either via a spray or via direct liquid application. In this sense, both products provide the same levels of usability to car owners.
However, the graphene coating may cure more rapidly than the ceramic coating will. This can be a good thing, as it means the coating is quick to start acting. However, it also means the user needs to act quickly during application, as it is difficult to make adjustments to the coating once the bond between the ceramic layer and surface has been formed.
This fast-curing property was found to be particularly noticeable in areas with hot, humid or tropical climates. For the majority of New Zealanders, this will not be a problem but is perhaps something to bear in mind, particularly during hotter times of the year or in more humid locations.
Coatings are designed to do more than just protect metalwork from corrosion. They need to be applicable to a variety of different surfaces, adhering to each with effectiveness and durability. This is why versatility is such an important quality in a coating. Users need coatings that will adhere to a number of different materials and surfaces – and that will remain effective across all of these surfaces.
Graphene coatings appear to offer more in this area, and they can be used with great effect across various surface types. These include metalwork itself, paintwork, wheel components and surfaces, plastics and trim materials, chrome, glass or rubber. The ceramic layer can adhere effectively to these surfaces, providing the graphene molecule layer with the sturdy foundation upon which to build.
The ceramic coating alone will also adhere to most of these surfaces and provide the protective effect that users need. However, the composition of the graphene coating makes it more versatile.
Both types of coating are designed to be easy to maintain, although the abrasion resistance of the graphene coating makes it more suitable for regular cleaning, particularly when the cleaning becomes a little more heavy-duty.
Both coating types can be backed up with a silicone oxide-based (SiO2) protection that will provide additional support and defence to the look and function of the car's components. Some coatings – both graphene and ceramic versions – already contain this silicone component, providing double protection for vehicles while also helping surfaces look their best.
The Right Coating for Your Vehicle
Most people find that the additional protection offered by the graphene coating makes it the superior choice. Speak to our team to find out more about this coating or to make a purchase. We are the first in New Zealand to bring graphene to the country, and we can guide you further on how the graphene layer can provide a distinct advantage to your own vehicle and project.