Special Camouflage Makeup to Protect Soldiers


U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Controllers (known...
U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Controllers (known as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller since 2004) wearing BDUs on a mountain in South Korea (June 2003). Photo by Peter Rimar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One does not normally associate ‘makeup’ with soldiers. More like ‘war paint’ or just ‘camouflage goop’, but these non-seasonal colors play an important part in protecting and keeping soldiers from harm.

Basically if you do not want to be a sitting target, you paint your face and try to blend into the background and that was all these paints did. However, scientist Robert Lochhead, Ph.D has discovered a new chemical material that applies like a face paint but will help protect soldiers from the searing heat of a road side bomb.

“The detonation of a roadside bomb or any other powerful explosive produces two dangerous blasts,” Lochhead said. “First comes a blast wave of high pressure that spreads out at supersonic speeds and can cause devastating internal injuries. A thermal blast follows almost instantaneously. It is a wave of heat that exceeds 1,112 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s as hot as a burning cigarette. The thermal blast lasts only two seconds, but it can literally cook the face, hands and other exposed skin.”

The military understandably wanted DEET, an insect repellant, to be added to the lotion but it was highly inflammable.

The specialized face paint was considered an impossibility at first, even for a 2 seconds time frame when the heat is at its highest and most deadly; Robert Lochhead’s team has found a solution that applies like a sun tan lotion, is only a thin waterproof layer and can protect face, neck and hands for up to 15 seconds.

This was what the press release said:

“The trickiest part was that the University of Southern Mississippi team had to avoid the use of mineral oil, mineral spirits, fatty substances and other traditional hydrocarbon makeup ingredients. Hydrocarbons can burn in contact with intense heat in the flame spectrum. The team turned to silicones, which are not as flammable because they absorb radiation at wavelengths outside of the intense heat spectrum. Silicones have been replacing hydrocarbons in many commercial cosmetic makeup products as cosmetics companies improve products to confer better feel properties and transfer-resistance.”

Should the lotion reach the final stages of approval, it could have far wider implication for other services such as fire fighters and rangers. Wonder if it would help Prince Harry in his red hot nude pictures ordeal right now?


Read more at: Phys.Org, Smart Planet, UPI

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