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.
Todd McLeish | EurekAlert!
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