Innovation Spotlight: The Shepherd Color Company: Smart Coatings

Report Code: CHM165A


April 2021

Paint is not just paint anymore. Smart coatings are a subset of advanced coatings and may be defined as coating materials that can adapt their properties dynamically to an external stimulus. “Smart” refers to the concept of coatings being able to sense the environment and make an appropriate response to that stimulus. Their emerging and potential uses are legion.

Smart coatings help in reducing the need for air conditioning and heating within buildings and cars. They are sensitive to external stimuli such as electricity and gas. This allows them to change color on command and to warn of electricity malfunctions or gas leaks. Electrical-conducting smart coatings have created the possibility of TV screens that can be painted onto walls.

Smart coatings also play an important role in disguising and hiding objects for both military and nonmilitary purposes. All combat vehicles are coated in camouflage colors, and stealth bombers are hidden by their radar-absorbing coatings. The ultimate development of smart-coating technologies may create the real possibility of both machine and soldier being made invisible to the naked eye.

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