Ever happened to you that you touched a burning object kept outside in the heat? What if you were told there is a paint that could warn you about it roaring temperatures? This is exactly what NJIT researchers have developed. They have created a specialised paint that will be used to coat and package handling material or equipment that will change colour when exposed to high heat. It will be like a warning to not touch it, lest it explodes or cause burn.

The project has been initiated and funded by the U.S. Army Armament Research Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal. This was commissioned with the intention of protecting soldiers who are exposed to munitions that sometimes tend to exceed the temperature of its design limits.

Commenting on the invention, Zafar Iqbal, a research professor, Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science said, “It would have been helpful to have had some sort of a calibrated temperature-triggered signal warning, ‘Don’t go near or pick up this shell!’”

Awarded U.S. patent in the month of May this year, the paint is being dubbed as a thermal-indicating composition. It is applied as a coating or a mark, which changes colour from blue to red when the temperature touched about 95 degrees F.

Iqbal further shared, “We essentially modified commercial paints and introduced nanotechnology-based concepts to tailor the trigger temperatures.”

Time-temperature coding is most crucial for munitions that are stored for many years and travel across places. So far there was no single cost-friendly way to identify when they crossed the critical exposure limit. Also the reason that thermal stabilizers that are incorporated inside weapon containers deplete in extended exposure to high temperatures, called for an alternative solution.

Iqbal has been awarded 22 U.S. patents on a variety of technologies and is busy working on his book titled, “Nanomaterials Science and Technology”. The book will be published by Cambridge University Press.


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