Motorists will benefit from a warning when roads get icy. A smart paint that can be seen when driving in freezing conditions is being developed by researchers of French paving company Eurovia.
The paint turns red when the temperature drops below 1 ºC and when the weather gets warmer and the ice melts the paint returns to a natural colour and can't be seen.
Trials are currently underway in the colder regions of France but the challenges they need to overcome include the smart paint being seen at night and ensuring the paint is able to withstand higher levels of UV rays in the summer so that the paint lasts longer.
The paint will also be useful as the graders will be able to salt the roads more efficiently thereby saving costs.
The University of Rhode Island, USA is also developing temperature sensitive polymer based pigments that visually and reversibly change colors at a prescribed temperature in the region of -35 to +125 ºC. The thermochromic polymers can be incorporated into commercially available paints, plastics, and rubbers.
Colour Therm, UK have a thermochromic coating prepared as paint, ink or device produced with inorganic pigments on an acrylic solvent based resin which changes colour upon reaching a trigger temperature and then returns to a natural colour once the temperature changes again. Activation temperatures between -10 ºC and 69 ºC are available.
Thermochromic inks are currently used in labels to ensure that goods are stored at the correct temperature and for industrial applications where products need to reach certain set temperatures as part of a process.
For more attend Printed Electronics USA 2008.