Everyone’s got their favorite car in mind when they’re shopping. More importantly, everyone has their favorite car color as well. The color of a car can drastically change an opinion on the make or model and is the first thing people see when they look at a car. A great car with a terrible paint job looks like a terrible car, while a junker can be saved with even a decent paint job. However, the limited color options at the dealer can only do so much to capture someone’s imagination which is why custom paint jobs have become a form or artwork, expression, and even technological innovation. A trend that is busting open the doors for creativity and design is the implementation of thermochromic paints which change color based on the temperature.
Thermochromic Paint : How it Works
Remember in grade school when mood rings were a big hit? They would change color based on your “mood” but the color change was really just a reaction to the temperature. Mood rings are a simple liquid crystal thermometer, and liquid crystals can be applied to auto paint with spectacular outcomes. Liquid crystals react to temperatures in predictable ways, expanding or contracting with fluctuation temperature. This change in alignment causes the surface to absorb or reflect different wavelengths of light which make up color differences. The liquid crystals can be precisely engineered to switch between any color and at any temperature.
Since thermochromic paints can be controlled, design templates can take full advantage of them. For example, this streetbike was painted with Alsa’s Eclipse line of thermochromic paint and at 75 degrees a Japanese tattoo design is revealed in bright blue.
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This picture shows the back half of the bike heated, while the front half remains a solid black.
If your mind isn’t exploding with possibilities let me spout off a few ideas. Treading Softly: Some of the most appealing designs come from subtle changes. Having the change occur between similar colors can create more double takes than stark contrasts.
- Make a Statement: Of course, if you like bursting onto the scene, you can always have flames appear around the phoenix of your 1980 Firebird.
- Product Placement: A logo that morphs and changes right in front of people’s eyes, what part of that isn’t cool? The possibilities just with advertisements are fun to think about.
- Cold Weather: Thermochromic paints are usually used in places with a lot of sunlight, but think about paint that changes color when the temperature drops. Going for a drive in the rain could make a mesmerizing effect as the cold drops hit and run along the car.
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In the end it boils down to your creativity and what you want your car to represent. I’m excited to see where the industry goes. As it stands, implementing this kind of paint is not cheap and it requires someone who knows what they’re doing. I can’t imagine the headaches that would arise if a car with thermochromic paint got into an accident, needed repairs, and some poor sap was in charge of making the repairs match the rest of the car.