New Technologies: Reactive Paints

July 22, 2008

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Imagine being able to spot damage in your buildings before it became a major problem. A new paint being developed by Luna Innovations uses dye to change the color of paint when the painted surface is struck. The color change could provide a quick and easy way for building maintenance professionals to spot potential problems before they had a chance to worsen.

How Color Changing Paint Works

Color changing paint works by using a dye to alter the color of the paint. The dye is contained in microcapsules that are mixed with the pigment and other solid materials in paint. When the surface of the paint is struck, the microcapsules rupture, releasing the dye and effecting the color change.

The paint under development will also be able to distinguish the severity of impact, to a limited degree. When the dye is released by a low-level impact, the proportion of dye to pigment produces a visually distinct color from the color produced by a high energy impact.

Currently reactive paints are slated for use in military aircraft. However, the technology could be incorporated into paint for commercial and industrial buildings. If the cracks and micro-abrasions that might affect an airplane’s performance can be revealed by the color changing paints, then impacts and abrasions that compromise a coating’s protective qualities could also be revealed.

Coming Up:
Reactive Paint Possibilities

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