September 24, 2012

When soldiers are in combat, many put camouflage makeup on their faces to help them blend into the environment. Now, scientists have developed a new type of makeup that may help protect them against burns from bomb blasts, like the explosions or roadside bombs that have injured many troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.


An explosion produces powerful shock waves, and it also produces huge waves of heat, as hot as 1,112 F (600 C). That is as hot as a burning log, and anyone nearby will suffer severe burns to any exposed skin on their face, hands, etc.

Chemists were challenged to make a protective face paint that would have all the qualities of the camouflage paint that soldiers use already: Easy to put on and take off, waterproof, non-irritating to eyes, nose and mouth, include insect repellent (which is usually very flammable), and not rub off easily. And it had to be developed for a wide variety of skin colors - white, brown, light brown, black.

"I’m really impressed with this work," said Jamil Baghdachi, a chemist at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. "This is one of the most practical applications of science that I’ve seen."


Photo: Spc. Gerald James, U.S. Army

Read More: Science News for Kids, Heat-Resistant Makeup, by Sid Perkins, September 7, 2012.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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