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 Why do animals fight members of other species?
24.04.2015 | University of California - Los Angeles

nachricht Is a small artificially composed virus fragment the key to a Chikungunya vaccine?
24.04.2015 | Paul-Ehrlich-Institut - Bundesinstitut für Impfstoffe und biomedizinische Arzneimittel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fast and Accurate 3-D Imaging Technique to Track Optically-Trapped Particles

KAIST researchers published an article on the development of a novel technique to precisely track the 3-D positions of optically-trapped particles having complicated geometry in high speed in the April 2015 issue of Optica.

Daejeon, Republic of Korea, April 23, 2015--Optical tweezers have been used as an invaluable tool for exerting micro-scale force on microscopic particles and...

Im Focus: NOAA, Tulane identify second possible specimen of 'pocket shark' ever found

Pocket sharks are among the world's rarest finds

A very small and rare species of shark is swimming its way through scientific literature. But don't worry, the chances of this inches-long vertebrate biting...

Im Focus: Drexel materials scientists putting a new spin on computing memory

Ever since computers have been small enough to be fixtures on desks and laps, their central processing has functioned something like an atomic Etch A Sketch, with electromagnetic fields pushing data bits into place to encode data.

Unfortunately, the same drawbacks and perils of the mechanical sketch board have been just as pervasive in computing: making a change often requires starting...

Im Focus: Exploding stars help to understand thunderclouds on Earth

How is lightning initiated in thunderclouds? This is difficult to answer - how do you measure electric fields inside large, dangerously charged clouds? It was discovered, more or less by coincidence, that cosmic rays provide suitable probes to measure electric fields within thunderclouds. This surprising finding is published in Physical Review Letters on April 24th. The measurements were performed with the LOFAR radio telescope located in the Netherlands.

How is lightning initiated in thunderclouds? This is difficult to answer - how do you measure electric fields inside large, dangerously charged clouds? It was...

Im Focus: On the trail of a trace gas

Max Planck researcher Buhalqem Mamtimin determines how much nitrogen oxide is released into the atmosphere from agriculturally used oases.

In order to make statements about current and future air pollution, scientists use models which simulate the Earth’s atmosphere. A lot of information such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

HHL Energy Conference on May 11/12, 2015: Students Discuss about Decentralized Energy

23.04.2015 | Event News

“Developing our cities, preserving our planet”: Nobel Laureates gather for the first time in Asia

23.04.2015 | Event News

HHL's Entrepreneurship Conference on FinTech

13.04.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrons Move Like Light in Three-Dimensional Solid

24.04.2015 | Materials Sciences

Connecting Three Atomic Layers Puts Semiconducting Science on Its Edge

24.04.2015 | Materials Sciences

Understanding the Body’s Response to Worms and Allergies

24.04.2015 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>