Transmission Electron Micrograph of finely dispersed INSITU formed metal nanoparticles (2-5nm) in coatings.

Thermal Impact Sensor Coating

Topasol has developed a thermal indicator coating system that is designed for advanced composite materials (Polymer-Matrix-Composites designed for structural supports in military aircraft). This thermal impact indicator coating is intended to change color rapidly in response to a heating event that is strong enough to cause damage to the underlying composite matrix. Topasol's thermal impact coating has the potential to yield both qualitative and quantitative evidence of the temperature/time history to which the coating has been exposed. If the coating experiences heat impact above a threshold temperature relevant for thermal damage (damage that could lead to de-lamination in composites) it responds with a permanent multi-color development that is a function of temperature and time. The color scheme strongly depends on the actual temperature experienced by our nanoparticle enhanced coating and therefore, this coating can be used to sense a range of temperatures. If an area first experienced a lower temperature impact and then over time was exposed to a higher temperature regime, the coating responds with a color change with the final result showing color that corresponds to the highest temperature impact.

Topasol has integrated a nanoparticle-forming indicator additive ("precursor material") into commercially available MIL SPEC aircraft coatings (we also have a multitude of additional coating systems that work in concert with Topasol's nanoparticle forming addititves). After applying these coatings onto a test panel we monitored the effects of thermal exposure (heat gun with thermal gradient accross the test panel). The results are shown in the following video:

Temperature = Degree Celsius
Time = Real Time

The impact indicator coating proposed by Topasol will allow the detection of potential composite damage quickly and without the need for technically advanced instruments in the field. This will allow personnel to identify potential structural composite failure and thereby help reduce the time and expenditure of currently available nondestructive assessment.