MATETPRO - Matériaux et Procédés pour des Produits Performants

Towards a new generation of Smarts Gel-Coats : Thermo- and/or photo-switcheables – OptoMaTS

Submission summary

The project OptoMaTS is dedicated to the development of a gel-coat (or finish coat) made of polyester containing thermo- or photo-sensible polychromatic pigments. The project leader of OptoMaTS is the company AEC POLYMERS. This company that was granted with the Innovation Award in 2003 and in 2009 is positioned as a new actor in the major field of polyester laminate. It has proposed and developed a large range of structural adhesives and composite materials. The project OptoMaTS is the continuation of the research contract OPTINK conducted between AEC polymers and the two academic laboratories: Institute of Chemistry of Condensed Matter Bordeaux (ICMB, UPR 9048) and the Laboratoire Onde et Matière d'Aquitaine (LOMA, UMR 5798). During the project OPTINK, the Consortium (AEC Polymers / ICMCB / LOMA) has developed a know-how to stabilize bistable pigments in a gel-coat. The physico-chemical properties of crosslinked gel-coat remains unchanged (patent under AEC Polymers / CNRS). The method developed to insert the bistable pigments in gel coats does not affect the industrial process. This consortium validated the feasibility of Intelligent polychromatic gel-coats that can address a wide range of color. Moreover, in these smart gels-coats the color change induced by a modulation of the temperature or the laser intensity is either reversible or irreversible (depending on the type of pigment added). Thus, modulating locally the intensity of a beam of light or temperature, it is now possible to "imprint" logos, register slogans, identify parts on boat hulls, truck bodies or car ... It is also possible to use this method to perform cycles of writting and erasure. The development of this new generation of gel coats and UV composite polymers will allow AEC-POLYMERS to strengthen its range of innovative products. This generation of products offers the feature of changing colors under controlled temperature and / or laser light change. Therefore, It offers technical and commercial opportunities for many applications, among which include boating, automotive… This company will closely work with the industrial transfer OliKrom, hosted by ADERA (Association for the Development of Teaching and Research in Aquitaine) and created with support from the Aquitaine region and the European Community, aims to increase dissemination of the pigments developed and patented by ICMCB-CNRS. The ambition of OptoMaTS is twofold:
• Our first objective is to continue the transfer and the development of smart gels-coats. We will produce at industrial scale and market bistable gels-coats. We will also deepen our understanding of the mechanisms involved (including the photo-switching) and we will formulate new pigment (complex spin crossover) adjusting the commutation temperature to dedicated applications.
• Our second objective is to propose new bichromatic and polychromatic U.V. composite matrices. The transfer stage will be included during the design of pigments. Various complexes will be prepared and optimized to meet the prerequisites of chemical stability and thermal switching and / or photo-induced U.V. matrix. OptoMaTS aims to develop a new generation of gel coats and U.V. composite matrices simplifying the writing and eraser of logos, characters... The expected gains of productivity are important. They will increase the competitiveness of the AEC POLYMERS in this global market. This action supported by the pole of competitiveness "Route des Lasers' will result in the creation of more jobs in company AEC POLYMERS. The benefits associated with the use of this new generation of materials are non-negligible in terms of health and environmental. The technological solution adopted in the draft OptoMaTS limits the use of solvated paints harmful to the human health and the environment. The economy in this area is of dozens of tons.

Project coordination

christian BRET (AEC POLYMERS) –

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


OliKrom-ADERA OliKrom - Association pour le Développement de l Enseignement et de la Recherche en Aquitaine

Help of the ANR 764,027 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2011 - 36 Months

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