Researchers from the University of Connecticut have created color and transparency changing materials that alter their properties in response to force and movement, inspired by marine animals that change color as camouflage such as octopus, squid, and cuttlefish. Known as mechanocromic polymers, these materials could be used to create things such as smart windows and physical encryption devices. The materials work by changing the way they reflect or absorb light in relation to an action—such as shearing, stretching, or rubbing—through the interruption of intermolecular interactions. The research team lead by Luyi Sun, Ph.D., developed four different mechanocromic polymers: one that changes transparency, one that glows, one that changes color, and one that can either show or hide a desired pattern or text.

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