Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Heat sensitive materials change color when hot

05.08.2002


New polymer could prevent burns, food poisoning, traffic accidents



Imagine a fire door that changes color when hot, football jerseys that can tell when a player is overheating, road signs that change color indicating icy road conditions, and food packaging stamps that disappear when products have been kept at room temperature for too long. At the University of Rhode Island, chemists Brett Lucht and Bill Euler and chemical engineer Otto Gregory are working to make these products a reality.
The scientists are developing heat sensitive materials (polymers) that change color at various temperatures. Thus far they have been successful in creating a polymer that changes from red to yellow at 180°Fahrenheit (the temperature at which a person would suffer a burn) and at other warm temperatures.

Work on this project began when Gregory was approached by a company interested in coating cookware with a material that would change color when hot. A polymer was created, but it decomposed upon repeated exposure to high oven temperatures.



Since then, the trio has been successful in placing this polymer in plastics from which it cannot be extracted. This discovery is important to the food storage industry because it is the only FDA approved pigment that changes color.

"This polymer has an important safety application," said Lucht. "It has the potential to prevent people from burning themselves and eating spoiled foods." He calls this "smart packaging" because the packages would tell consumers the temperature of the product. For example, coffee lids could change color at extreme temperatures or milk cartons could have a mark that disappears if the carton reaches room temperature.

Funding for this project is provided by KM Scientific, the URI Foundation, and the URI Transportation Center, which envisions public safety applications for the polymers. The polymers can be added to a variety of products, including plastics, paints, inks, and rubbers. For instance, Gregory recalls when Ford Explorers were experiencing tire blow-outs due to heat caused by improper inflation.

"Using these polymers, we can help to prevent accidents such as these from occurring," he said.

The polymers can also be placed in vinyl seating to warn of hot seats, on the wheels or brakes of trains to show when they are beginning to wear out, on radiator caps and engine hoses to warn of extremely high temperatures, and on road signs to warn drivers of potentially hazardous conditions. "The potential uses for these polymers are endless. These products could forewarn people that they are in potentially dangerous situations," Gregory said.

Lucht and Euler are now concentrating on creating color changes for low temperatures and working on creating polymers that make more than one color change, ideally red for hot and blue for cold. Other vivid colors are also being studied. Gregory is focusing his research on uniformly dispersing polymers throughout different materials.

Todd McLeish | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cancer: Molecularly shutting down cancer cachexia
30.08.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Bringing artificial enzymes closer to nature
30.08.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Streamlining accelerated computing for industry

PyFR code combines high accuracy with flexibility to resolve unsteady turbulence problems

Scientists and engineers striving to create the next machine-age marvel--whether it be a more aerodynamic rocket, a faster race car, or a higher-efficiency jet...

Im Focus: X-ray optics on a chip

Waveguides are widely used for filtering, confining, guiding, coupling or splitting beams of visible light. However, creating waveguides that could do the same for X-rays has posed tremendous challenges in fabrication, so they are still only in an early stage of development.

In the latest issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances , Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub and Tim Salditt report the fabrication and testing of...

Im Focus: Piggyback battery for microchips: TU Graz researchers develop new battery concept

Electrochemists at TU Graz have managed to use monocrystalline semiconductor silicon as an active storage electrode in lithium batteries. This enables an integrated power supply to be made for microchips with a rechargeable battery.

Small electrical gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablets or notebooks, are indispensable accompaniments of everyday life. Integrated circuits in the interiors...

Im Focus: UCI physicists confirm possible discovery of fifth force of nature

Light particle could be key to understanding dark matter in universe

Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according...

Im Focus: Wi-fi from lasers

White light from lasers demonstrates data speeds of up to 2 GB/s

A nanocrystalline material that rapidly makes white light out of blue light has been developed by KAUST researchers.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

The energy transition is not possible without Geotechnics

25.08.2016 | Event News

New Ideas for the Shipping Industry

24.08.2016 | Event News

A week of excellence: 22 of the world’s best computer scientists and mathematicians in Heidelberg

12.08.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Environmental DNA uncovers biodiversity in rivers

30.08.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Solar houses scientifically evaluated

30.08.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Amazon forests: Biodiversity can help mitigate climate risks

30.08.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>