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Looking for oxidizing color-changing material

  1. Sep 2, 2014 #1

    I wonder if there is a material or paint/dye that would change color when exposed to air? Ideally, it should have the following properties:

    White-to-black, black-to-white, or any other high contrast color transition (e.g, yellow-to-brown would work too)
    Works under normal conditions
    Transition should occur within seconds (e.g., anywhere between 1 and 20 seconds)
    Color change is irreversible
    Reasonably cheap

    Thank you for any tips! :smile:

    P.S. As you can probably tell from my question, I'm totally not an expert in materials or chemistry, so please answer in "plain English". :smile:

    P.P.S. Also, the first thing that comes to mind is how an apple turns brown when one bites off a piece. I think this is kind of the effect I'm looking for.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 8, 2014 #2
    Hi, everybody. So no answers... which means there's no such thing?

    Well, is there any other method to achieve a similar color-changing effect? I'm thinking Transitions lenses that react to UV. It is different from what I'm after in several aspects:
    1. Doesn't work indoors
    2. Reversible and expensive

    Any thoughts? Thanks!
  4. Sep 8, 2014 #3
  5. Sep 10, 2014 #4
    Thanks, B0b-A! I had a hunch these paints do exist. The only problem, they react to UV, so won't work indoors. Also this will probably work differently on a sunny day vs an overcast day. That's why initially I was hoping to find an oxidizing dye, because the % of oxygen is always about the same everywhere.
  6. Sep 10, 2014 #5
  7. Sep 10, 2014 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    Fast reaction (within seconds) can be difficult, but there should be plenty of dyes capable of reacting with air oxygen and substantially changing their color. Trick is - while I am pretty sure they must exist, I have no idea about details.
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