Paint Protection Film (PPF, also called clear bra, clear film or clear paint film) is a thermoplastic urethane often self-healing film applied to painted surfaces of a new or used car in order to protect the paint from stone chips, bug splatters and minor abrasions. This film is also used on airplanes, RV’s, cell phones, electronic screens, motorcycles and many other areas. Paint protection film is OEM approved by virtually all car manufacturers.
As with many other consumer products, paint protection films were first developed and used by the military. During the Vietnam War, helicopter rotor blades and other sensitive parts of military transports were often damaged by flying shrapnel and debris. In order to help protect these moving parts, the US military asked 3M to come up with a solution that was both inconspicuous and low-weight. The advantage of replaceable film over the replacement and repair of damaged rotor blades was immediately clear and its adoption was uncharacteristically quick for the US military. As a result, there are still people in the industry who refer to PPF as “helicopter tape” although this term is becoming less and less common as automotive applications have taken precedence.