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Army Develops 'Mood Ring' to Spot Weary Ammo

Strange but true.

Picatinny Arsenal announced yesterday it had developed special "thermochromic" paints that could indicate the wear and tear on ammo so Soldiers would know if the rounds are safe for use.

Referred to as Thermal Indicating Paints, this formula uses thermochromic polymers to detect temperature ranges that ammunition was exposed to during transport or storage.

A common example of a thermochromic object is a mood ring, which changes color in response to the body temperature of the wearer. The thermochromic element changes the wavelength of light when it is exposed to different temperatures.

We all know that in both Iraq and Afghanistan, temperatures can run from bone-chilling frigidity to seering heat in a matter of hours. That throws ammo stores in Conex boxes or hooches into an unstable situation.
When propelling charges are exposed to high temperatures for extended periods, it can rapidly deplete the propellant stabilizer, which creates a potential for auto-ignition. Additionally, if the overheated propellant is fired, it can lead to dangerous, elevated gun pressures that cause weapon failure and put the Soldier at risk of injury.
Picatinny says there have been cases of rounds going off improperly because of the degraded chemistry.

The service is going to start with coating 30mm ammo, since "they aren’t expensive enough rounds to deem the use of a costly temperature gauge or monitor. The savings are bigger because it’s low value, high volume assets." The coatings could show up on ammo within a year, Picatinny says.

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