Printing inks and dyes that could change colour - is there an application?

It's being reported in the UK that consumers could conceivably buy polo shirts for example that could change to a colour that reflects a particular mood. Or the colour could be coordinated with hair colour.

Though it sounds far fetched, there is a new dye which will change colour when it gets any sunlight exposure. These dyes are called photochromic dyes and they change colour because the dye absorbs ultraviolet radiation found in sunlight or in special lighting.

The photochromic dyes are being used to colour clothes through standard dying procedures. The dyes will have a lot more uses though than just dying clothes. They can be used for printing logos, printing on packaging materials, and in textiles used in household furnishings. The wide range of applications for the dyes are sure to make this newest product popular once some technicalities are resolved.

The photochromic dye will not currently work on cotton or wool and can only be used on synthetic materials. Also, the dyes degrade when exposed to heat. These may sound like difficult problems, but further research is sure to create a next generation of photochromic dyes which overcome these obstacles to general use.

The photochromic dyes change colour because the ultra violet rays cause the molecular structure of the dye to change. The photochromic molecules darken and lighten depending on the amount of sunlight exposure at the moment. The colour increases during sunlight exposure and whitens when there is no sunlight.

The commercial use of this dye in the garment and textile industries will only increase when improvements increase its applications. The novelty of this dye is sure to be appealing to a certain market niche.

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