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According to a report in Nanowerk News, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) researchers have developed a paint for use in coatings and packaging that changes colour when exposed to high temperatures, delivering a visual warning to people handling material or equipment with the potential to malfunction, explode or cause burns when overheated.
The technology was commissioned and funded by the US Army Armament Research Development and Engineering Centre (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal in response to dangerous conditions in the desert during the war in Iraq, for example, where soldiers reported temperatures near munitions that had sometimes exceeded 190°F, far in excess of the shells’ design limits.
The technology has potentially wider applications as well, including as a temperature indicator for factory machines and household appliances and tools, signalling they have become dangerously hot or as a warning to fire fighters of the intensity of a fire on the other side of a door coated with the thermal paint. Several large corporations have expressed preliminary interest.