An “intelligent” (smart) material is sensitive, adaptive and evolutionary. It is opposed to the conventional material, inert by definition, whose characteristics remain the same regardless of the stresses to which this material is subjected.
smart material has functions that allow it to behave as a sensor (detect signals), an actuator (perform an action on its environment) or sometimes as a processor (process, compare, store information). This material is able to spontaneously modify its physical properties, in particular its shape, its connectivity, its viscosity or its color, in response to natural or induced excitations. These can come from outside or inside the material: temperature variations, mechanical stress, electric or magnetic fields. The material will adapt its response, signal a change in the environment and in some cases cause a correction action.
One of the most important families is that of X-chrome materials, which change color under the effect of external excitation (temperature, light, pressure, humidity, etc.). It thus becomes possible to detect by a simple color change structural weaknesses in the coating of an aircraft, exceeding a temperature threshold, etc.
The creation of a synergy between “intelligence and color“, namely the ability to change color and become adaptive / interactive with the surrounding world, opens a field of application without limit. In fact, the main technology lock is to master the interactivity of these materials to the finished product. This requires to control throughout the production chain the maintenance of the “smart” property sought (color involved, trigger threshold, speed, reversibility / irreversibility), at each step:
- of design and synthesis of the “intelligent” pigment,
- formulation in an ink, a paint, a masterbatch, and also
- industrial integration on a production line, through the implementation of a quality and certification approach, particularly in sectors associated with safety issues.
Competitive and economic context:
Since the beginning of the 90s, the major events devoted specifically to adaptive materials, generally called “intelligent”, are multiplying around the world: “European conference on smart structures and materials”, “ICIMN2016 International conference on intelligent materials”(http://www.icimn.org/).
All major industrial powers have understood the issues and are now involved in major research programs.
Various strategic studies have recently been published, highlighting the importance of these materials as a source of innovation and differentiation with high added value:
2016 Global Smart Materials Industry Market Research Report published in May 2016 (https://www.whatech.com/market-research/materials-chemicals/157389-latest-report-on-smart-materials-industry-market-trends-profit-and-key-manufacturers-analysis-published-by-leading-research-firm)
Color-Shifting Materials Market Opportunities – 2015 to 2022 (https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2015/12/18/796765/0/en/Color-Shifting-Materials-Market-Opportunities-2015-Forecasts-to-2022-Thermochromism-Photochromism-Electrochromism-Solvatochromism-Cathodchromism-Electrophoresis.html)
In this context of valorization of the color intelligence, OliKrom accompanies the industrialists of all sectors in their approach of innovation, from the idea to the recurring production, including support services of analysis and quality control. The expertise of its team allows to adapt to the demand and to design the intelligent solution adapted to the specifications, then to formulate and produce on an industrial scale inks, paints, functionalized masterbatches.