SOUTHFIELD, MI -- BASF and Q-Panel Lab Products have developed an accelerated Florida acid-etch test method that is reported to reduce the time required to test a coating’s resistance to acid rain by a factor of 13 to1.

The companies said the test method was developed in response to the automotive industry’s need for decreased cycle times and increased testing throughput. A patent is pending for the new process, which is reported to reproduce long-term acid-etch performance in three weeks rather than a year. Acid etch, caused most commonly by rain, refers to the damage to a vehicle’s finish that looks like water spots and cannot be removed by washing or waxing.

The testing procedure, named the BASF Accelerated Acid Test method, uses a new model of Q-Panel’s Q-Sun Xenon Test Chamber and proprietary aqueous solutions to reproduce, in an accelerated time frame, the effects of acid rain combined with heat and sunlight.

John Boisseau, senior Development chemist, BASF Automotive Coatings, said the new process will help boost productivity, reduce costs and speed the time to market for automotive-coatings technologies. At the same time, he said the method “maintains a high correlation to actual outdoor exposure and is dependably reproducible.” Boisseau is one of the developers of the new test method.

Patrick Brennan, Q-Panel Lab Products senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, predicted that the new test process is destined to become the industry-standard method. “In terms of repeatability and reproducibility, this test meets all the requirements to become an ASTM or DIN standard, which means it would be globally applicable,” Brennan said. “Once it becomes widely adopted, this process will move the whole industry forward in one of the most vital paint testing areas.”