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Paint that Changes Colour on Demand

Published on January 30, 2009 at 5:19 PM

Want to show support for your favorite team? What if you could change the color of your car to black and gold (or red and white) in seconds?

Scientists have developed a paramagnetic paint that can change color like a football fan changes a T-shirt. It’s all part of the amazing world of materials that’s covered in three-minute podcasts on “Materials Radio,” a new service of ASM International, the materials information society.

“Have a New Car Color Every Day” was written and produced by Andrea Dangelewicz of the Clemson University Materials Advantage Chapter. Here’s how the quick-change paint works:

While you drive, pushing a button sends electric current through a special polymer paint containing paramagnetic nanoparticles. The current creates a magnetic field that affects the spacing of crystals within the particles, which changes their ability to reflect light…and voila! A white car becomes Steelers black…or Cardinals red.

Nearly two-dozen podcasts on “Materials Around Us” and “The Science of Materials” are available on Materials Radio to bring the excitement of materials to middle school students, parents and teachers. Visit www.materialsradio.com for free downloads.

Materials Radio is an initiative of the K-12 Education Subcommittee of ASM International’s Education Committee. “The podcasts come from the most creative minds in our university membership,” said K-12 chair Jan Edwards. “Each one was written and recorded by Materials Advantage students who want to share their love of materials with middle school students.”

“It’s all about making materials science accessible and fun.”

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