While getting a bit of bird poo on you may be good luck in some countries, the thought of you, or your car, wearing a smidgeon from a pigeon’s posterior isn’t all that great. In fact, it can be quite harmful if you don’t wipe it off your car quickly.
Bird poop is often white and black, but it’s not all poop. The white part is uric acid, the equivalent of human urine. The poop itself is made in the digestive system and while both can be secreted at the same time, it happens with such speed that the two don’t have time to mix.
That combination can degrade a vehicle’s exterior, burning its way through the clear coat and, in some cases, bleaching the paint itself. Paint has evolved, like every other component in the auto industry, and automakers are finding new ways to research the effect of droppings on new paints.
Ford is using artificial bird poop.
The solution that makes up the test droppings is produced in a laboratory in Germany, and its combination of ingredients reflects the different diets of various species of bird life throughout Europe.
To test the paint hardiness, sample test panels are sprayed with the solution then aged at 40° C, 50° C and 60° C in an oven to replicate customer use in extreme heats.
The results determine what happens next.
Ford can fine-tune the pigments, resins, and additives that go into making a car’s paintwork. By changing up the make-up to resist the pollutants, no matter the weather, Ford is able to offer its customers a longer-lasting paint job.
The automaker can also conduct other types of tests including a UV test, which bombards paint with ultraviolet light for up to 6,000 hours (250 days) in a light lab – simulating five years in the brightest place on Earth. They can simulate the paint being frozen in sub-zero temperatures, expose it to harsh winter road grime in a high humidity salt chamber, and simulate fuel staining.
Ford Versus Bird Poop