Icy Pink Roads

It’s hard to see icy patches on the road ahead. Wouldn’t it be great if the road could signal whether it was icy? Scientists are working on a road coating that will turn pink in dangerously icy conditions!
A new temperature-sensitive varnish developed by researchers at French company Eurovia can be applied to road surfaces to warn drivers about dangerous conditions. The technique – still at the testing stage – might help prevent ice-related traffic accidents in future, the researchers say.

The varnish is made of a polymer containing a thermochromic pigment. The same type of coating is already used to make bath thermometers and frozen food packaging that responds to temperature change. However, it is the first time such a coating has been used to monitor road temperatures.

The color change would also make it easier for road crews to distribute salt. The challenge ahead is to make the coating more visible at night, and to make it last through the summer months. Link -via Reddit

(image credit: Eurovia)

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I admire the folks concerned about color blindness, but I think people with color blindness would see a gray square in the white square and see a change, alerting them to icy conditions, they just might not see pink as we see it (and that is left for a discussion of qualia and a philosophy course).

An idea I had years ago would be for the road to turn black when it is cold and white when it is hot. The black road would get warmer in sunlight and help melt the road and the white when it is warm would keep the road from becoming even hotter in the summer and making urban heat islands. I am not sure how to keep the road from becoming a middle gray when it reaches equilibrium withe the sun and its surroundings.
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Sounds great, but the cost would probably be outrageous. And it looks like the road would be solid white when it wasn't cold and that would be to bright.
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