Sunday, 20 April 2014
masthead+quote+image
Advanced search

Colour patches indicate soldiers' blast exposure level

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a colour-changing patch that could be worn on soldiers’ helmets to indicate how badly they may have been exposed to blasts from explosives.

’We wanted to create a “blast badge” that would be lightweight, durable, power free and, perhaps most importantly, could be easily interpreted, even on the battlefield,’ said Dr Douglas Smith, professor of neurosurgery at at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

To do so, Smith and his team built the badge from nanoscale structures whose make-up preferentially reflects certain wavelengths of light. The structures are designed to break apart when exposed to a blast shockwave and, when they do, the material’s reflective properties are modified, which in turn causes a substantial colour change.

The material is designed so that the extent of the colour change corresponds to the intensity of the blast. Next, the researchers aim to calibrate the colour change to the intensity of exposure to provide an immediate indication of the potential harm to the brain from such blasts and the subsequent need for medical intervention.

Have your say

Mandatory
Mandatory
Mandatory
Mandatory

My saved stories (Empty)

You have no saved stories

Save this article

Digital Edition

The Engineer March Digital Issue

Poll

The roundtable feature in our current issue looks at issues surrounding graduate recruitment into engineering. Which of the solutions proposed in the feature would make the biggest contribution to boosting the number of graduates finding jobs in engineering and remaining there?

Previous Poll

Europe's largest tidal array in the Pentand Firth off Orkney will eventually generate up to 86MW of power. What will it take for tidal energy to make an appreciable contribution to the UK's energy needs?

Read and comment on the results here