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 Chemical cages: New technique advances synthetic biology
10.02.2016 | Arizona State University

nachricht Epilepsy at the Molecular Level
10.02.2016 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Goodbye ground control: autonomous nanosatellites

The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.

Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...

Im Focus: Flow phenomena on solid surfaces: Physicists highlight key role played by boundary layer velocity

Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.

The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).

Im Focus: New study: How stable is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?

Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels

A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...

Im Focus: Superconductivity: footballs with no resistance

Indications of light-induced lossless electricity transmission in fullerenes contribute to the search for superconducting materials for practical applications.

Superconductors have long been confined to niche applications, due to the fact that the highest temperature at which even the best of these materials becomes...

Im Focus: Wbp2 is a novel deafness gene

Researchers at King’s College London and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom have for the first time demonstrated a direct link between the Wbp2 gene and progressive hearing loss. The scientists report that the loss of Wbp2 expression leads to progressive high-frequency hearing loss in mouse as well as in two clinical cases of children with deafness with no other obvious features. The results are published in EMBO Molecular Medicine.

The scientists have shown that hearing impairment is linked to hormonal signalling rather than to hair cell degeneration. Wbp2 is known as a transcriptional...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Travel grants available: Meet the world’s most proficient mathematicians and computer scientists

09.02.2016 | Event News

AKL’16: Experience Laser Technology Live in Europe´s Largest Laser Application Center!

02.02.2016 | Event News

From intelligent knee braces to anti-theft backpacks

26.01.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Chemical cages: New technique advances synthetic biology

10.02.2016 | Life Sciences

Engineering researchers use laser to 'weld' neurons

10.02.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones Learn To Search Forest Trails for Lost People

10.02.2016 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>