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The expert's eye

What are smart materials?

Sensitive, reactive, these so-called intelligent materials transform and change color under the influence of heat, light or mechanical stimulation (stretching, impact).

With the birth of SmartKrom® color change materials, thermochromes (active at temperature), photochromes and photoluminescents (active at light), piezochromes (active at pressure), chemochromes (active in the presence of a solvent or a gas), the first mistake is to consider that these pigments are classical additives to be added to a paint, an ink,... The first consequence is often the degradation of the Chameleon property.

Behind this SmartKrom® color change property, these materials involve a physical process of phase transition linked to a structural modification of isomerization, cyclization (or ring opening), electron transfer, protons, hydrogen atoms and/or spin state...

This is not magic!

The 1st challenge: choosing the right family of materials

Today, there are several technologies on the market. Some have been known for decades. However, careful consideration should be given before choosing a generation of smart materials.

Some processes are extremely fragile and have a very limited resistance to ultraviolet exposure, which greatly reduces the use of these materials in outdoor conditions.

Others contain restricted substances, such as Bisphenol A (BPA) and/or toxic metals that will severely limit the end use.

The 2nd challenge: mastering the color change in the finished product

These intelligent materials are extremely sensitive to their environment and too many industrial developments are currently halted by a lack of understanding of the thermodynamic processes involved in color change. The milling and formulation steps modify the physicochemical environment of the pigments.

Consequently, it is essential to control the property at each stage, until the finished product. For this, it is necessary to use absorption and fluorescence spectrometers, diffuse reflectivity devices to follow the color change according to the temperature...

The 3rd challenge: to program the color change properly

The existence of several physical processes involved in the color change allows, if they are well controlled, to adapt to industrial demands. It is a real programming of the pigment so that the change of color intervenes in a reversible or irreversible way, at a defined threshold of disturbance.

It is also advisable to take into account the fatigability of the intelligent material in its final use, namely, the duration of the phenomenon of color change (number of cycles), speed of the phenomenon (round trip)...

The 4th challenge: hoping for a finished product "off the shelf

To save time, the OliKrom team is often asked to order a finished product "off the shelf" to satisfy an industrial need. The reality is quite different!

Each specification has its own particularities, such as the SmartKrom® property required, the shaping requirements during the industrial process, the desired durability or the regulatory aspects... Each of these elements is essential to synthesize the right pigment and formulate the optimal smart solution (paint, ink,...). The consequence of a wrong selection is the rapid degradation of the properties of Chameleon color change, photoluminescence...

OliKrom's contribution: control of production from pigment to ink and paint formulation...

To meet industrial specifications, the OliKrom team has acquired international recognition in the field of SmartKrom® and color intelligence for industrial safety.

The know-how of its doctors and chemical engineers in organic, hybrid and inorganic chemistry enables it to synthesize the optimal pigment according to the desired criteria and to control all the formulation stages. At each stage, the desired intelligent property is controlled.

Each industrial development is made "to measure", there is no "off the shelf" solution. On the other hand, the experience acquired by the OliKrom team in the field of SmartKrom® allows us to take into account the global dimension of the project by integrating all facets, from the property sought to the industrial and regulatory aspects... The technical-economic and confidentiality dimensions are also at the heart of our approach.

To guarantee the quality of its products and ensure complete satisfaction for our industrial partners, OliKrom only distributes intelligent coatings, in the form of ink, paint and masterbatch. 

The 1st challenge: choosing the right family of materials

Today, there are several technologies on the market. Some have been known for decades. However, careful consideration should be given before choosing a generation of smart materials.

Some processes are extremely fragile and have a very limited resistance to ultraviolet exposure, which greatly reduces the use of these materials in outdoor conditions.

Others contain restricted substances, such as Bisphenol A (BPA) and/or toxic metals that will severely limit the end use.

 

The 2nd challenge: mastering the color change in the finished product

These intelligent materials are extremely sensitive to their environment and too many industrial developments are currently halted by a lack of understanding of the thermodynamic processes involved in color change. The milling and formulation steps modify the physicochemical environment of the pigments.

Consequently, it is essential to control the property at each stage, until the finished product. For this, it is necessary to use absorption and fluorescence spectrometers, diffuse reflectivity devices to follow the color change according to the temperature...

 

The 3rd challenge: to program the color change properly

The existence of several physical processes involved in the color change allows, if they are well controlled, to adapt to industrial demands. It is a real programming of the pigment so that the change of color intervenes in a reversible or irreversible way, at a defined threshold of disturbance.

It is also advisable to take into account the fatigability of the intelligent material in its final use, namely, the duration of the phenomenon of color change (number of cycles), speed of the phenomenon (round trip)...

 

The 4th challenge: hoping for a finished product "off the shelf

To save time, the OliKrom team is often asked to order a finished product "off the shelf" to satisfy an industrial need. The reality is quite different!

Each specification has its own particularities, such as the SmartKrom® property required, the shaping requirements during the industrial process, the desired durability or the regulatory aspects... Each of these elements is essential to synthesize the right pigment and formulate the optimal smart solution (paint, ink,...). The consequence of a wrong selection is the rapid degradation of the properties of Chameleon color change, photoluminescence...

OliKrom's contribution: control of production from pigment to ink and paint formulation...

To meet industrial specifications, the OliKrom team has acquired international recognition in the field of SmartKrom® and color intelligence for industrial safety.

The know-how of its doctors and chemical engineers in organic, hybrid and inorganic chemistry enables it to synthesize the optimal pigment according to the desired criteria and to control all the formulation stages. At each stage, the desired intelligent property is controlled.

Each industrial development is made "to measure", there is no "off the shelf" solution. On the other hand, the experience acquired by the OliKrom team in the field of SmartKrom® allows us to take into account the global dimension of the project by integrating all facets, from the property sought to the industrial and regulatory aspects... The technical-economic and confidentiality dimensions are also at the heart of our approach.

To guarantee the quality of its products and ensure complete satisfaction for our industrial partners, OliKrom only distributes intelligent coatings, in the form of ink, paint and masterbatch.