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SMART MATERIALS

THERMOCHROMIC INKS - INKS THAT CHANGE COLOUR WITH TEMPERATURE

V. Ryan 2011

 

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Inks and dyes are used on almost every product and packaging. The role inks / colour plays can be crucial to the success or failure of a product. Thermochromic inks can change from colourless to colourful OR colourful to colourless very quickly.
Although thermochromic inks were introduced in the 1970s, they are used extensively today. For example, in the food industry, on packaging they can convey the freshness of a product.
 
PROPERTIES OF THERMOCHROMIC INKS

They come in a range of colours.

They change colour as the temperature goes up or down.

Expensive compared to normal inks to buy.

They can be applied to most surfaces.
 
EXAMPLE ONE
 
The ‘global warming’ coffee cup below has the countries of the world on its surface. When the cup warms up, low lying land turns from green to blue, representing flooded areas.
This has been manufactured for those with concerns over global warming and the environment.
 
 
 
 
EXAMPLE TWO
 
Thermochromic inks have serious applications 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.
 
An amusing and interesting application of thermocromic inks can be seen on the label of ‘Coors Light’. In its normal state, the mountains on the label remain white. However, when cooled to the correct drinking temperature the mountains turn blue.
 
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More Examples of Smart Materials

1. Smart Materials - Polymorph - Shaping by Hand
2. Smart Materials - Polymorph - Using a Mould
3. Smart Materials - Shape Memory Alloys - Page One
4. Smart Materials - Shape memory Alloys - Page Two
5. Modern Light Weight Modelling Materials
6. Hydromorphic Polymers
7. Hydrocarbon Encapsulating Polymers
8. Aroma Pigments
9. Further Questions and Answers on Smart Materials
 
 
 
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