Clear Bra and PPF
A variety of car care experts would say that paint protection film (PPF) is a modern marvel. This durable polymer or polyurethane film is thin but strong. It protects your vehicle’s clear coat against chemicals but also provides ultimate protection against sun exposure, road debris, and acid rain.
As you research PPF online, you soon realize that there is a ton of information about PPF. Some of this information is incredibly accurate, but some of it is not. At Discount Autoglass, we can help you navigate the myths, rumors, and lies to give you a definitive guide to paint protection film.
What is the history of paint protection film?
The first step in understanding PPF is to understand the history of this fantastic achievement. Similar to most of our current successes, PPF can be traced back to solving a problem. This problem came from the Vietnam War.
During this war, the rotor blades on helicopters were compromised or damaged by trees, shrapnel, and other debris. The United States Department of Defense wanted to solve this issue to improve the safety of the helicopters.
The US Department of Defense sought help from the people at 3M. They wanted a protective layer that was super strong but lightweight. 3M gave them helicopter tape, which was a custom urethane film. This film was developed during a war when the function was more important than style.
This helicopter tape was the basis for today’s PPF, but it was vastly different. You can descript today’s PPF as a transparent thermoplastic urethane. This film can be textured and colored to enhance the paint job on any vehicle.
PPF can be provided in a wide variety of thicknesses and grades but must be applied by highly trained professions to ensure precision accuracy.
What are the different types of PPF?
As stated above, PPF was initially created for helicopter rotors, but 3M has fine-tuned it to become the leading protective barrier for automotive applications.
The founding company of PPF is definitely 3M; however, PPF is offered by various manufacturers. These manufacturers provide a massive amount of different types and designs to you. Some of the leading PPF products offered to consumers include Kavaca, 3M Paint Protection Film Pro Series, and Xpel film.
They are also offered in a variety of brand names including:
- Clear Bra
- Clear Mask
- Invisible Shield
- Rock Chip Protection
- Clear Wrap
- Car Scratch Protection Film
What is Clear Bra?
Clear Bra is probably the most popular name used for paint protection film. If soda is the generic term, Coke is the brand name. With this fact in mind, PPF is similar to using the word ‘soda’ while Clear Bra is similar to using ‘Coke.’ However, Clear Bra is also a specific type of paint protection film.
Clear Bra is typically attached to the front end of your vehicle. When applied, it covers the front bumper, paint, grille, splitter, headlights, front portion, and front fenders of the car. The term bra was given to this particular PPF due to the location of the application.
In the past, many car owners would apply a leather or hard vinyl-based material over this same area. It was used to protect the automotive paint similar to Clear Bra today. Clear Bra removed the hard, thick material and replaced it with a lightweight film.
What are the layers of PPF?
Almost all paint protection films use the same construction physically. The films can be broken down into four different layers: clear coat, polyurethane, acrylic adhesive, and polyester release liner.
The polyester release liner typically measures about 3.0 mils or 0.076 mm in thickness. It is the bottom layer of the PPF and bonds to the vehicle’s surface. The next layer to the PPF is called the acrylic adhesive. This layer measures about 1.6 mils or 0.040 mm thick. This layer carries the adhesion.
The third layer is the thickness layer at 6.0 mils or 0.152 mm. This layer is referred to as polyurethane. It provides strength and depth to the PPF. The last layer is the top layer, which is the clear coat. This layer measure about 0.5 mils or 0.0132 mm.
How are vinyl and PPF different?
The term vinyl and PPF are sometimes used as one term. However, these two items are significantly different. Vinyl is a wrap that is used in the same fashion as a paint protection film. However, PPF tends to be a much thicker and more durable material. It is also typically lighter in weight.
PPF can offer protection from swirl marks, bug splatter, stone chips, small scratches, and other damage to your vehicle’s paint. Vinyl, on the other hand, is much heavier, thinner, and comes in color. You typically see vinyl used on cars needing graphics.
Vinyl is applied to the original paint of a vehicle and acts similar to a sticker. Even though it replicates a sticker, vinyl still protects the paint underneath it. The main difference, however, between vinyl and PPF comes down to the usage.
Vinyl is used to enhance the vehicle’s appearance, while PPF is generally used to enhance protection. PPF lasts longer than vinyl and offers better hydrophobic properties. The best advantage of PPF over vinyl is you can repair scratched PPF.
What are the pros and cons associated with PPF?
It is important to remember that PPF is not the best choice for everyone. It is an awesome way to reduce chips, scratches, and other surface damage. However, it comes with a variety of advantages and disadvantages.
One of the best advantages of PPF is it is the strongest material available to protect against chips and other paint damage. Some forms of PPF have healing properties to self-heal when chips occur. PPF will help protect your paint from scratching, swirl, and marring marks.
With PPF, you can get up to 10 years of protection, making it the longest-lasting paint protection product available. In years past, vehicles would suffer from yellowing or reduction in hydrophobic properties, but the best technology has eliminated these issues.
One major disadvantage is not all PPF are created equal. PPF comes in a variety of grades, so it is essential to do research to choose the best product for your needs. Another disadvantage is a professional should install PPF to ensure a professional-grade finish. PPF can also be quite expensive.
If you want to learn more about PPF or Clear Bra, contact one of our experts. You can also give Discount Autoglass a call to schedule an appointment.