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SPECIAL INKS - INKS THAT CHANGE WITH TEMPERATURE

V. Ryan 2004

 

Inks are widely used on many products ranging from packaging, pottery and clothing. The role inks / colour plays can be crucial to the success or failure of a product. The development and use of specialist inks is a competitive business and this has led to research into modern colour changing inks.
Colour changing inks were introduced during the 1970s with novelty items such a cups that change colour when hot liquids such a coffee or tea are poured in to them.

   

The cup below is empty and so the colour of the cartoons nose remains the same.

 

The cup below is full of hot tea and the colour of the cartoons nose has changed from grey to red

     

 

   

Thermochromic inks are those that change colour in response to changes in temperature. These inks have serious applications such as in the food industry. They can be used to indicate when a packaged food has reached the correct temperature in an oven. They are also used in forehead thermometers made from card, with thermochromic ink as a temperature sensor.

   

 

   

As the patient places the thermometer against his head the rise in temperature can be clearly seen. The thermochromic ink reacts to the change in temperature and the colour red indicates the patients temperature.

Thermochromic inks are more expensive than normal inks but they can be applied by most printing processes. Normally the special ink is only applied to small areas of the product / package and this minimises costs.

 
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THERMOCHROMIC INKS
   
 
   

QUESTIONS:
1. List products that you think could use thermochromic inks. Explain how they could be used on the products or package.

   

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