Paramagnetic paint is changing the paint industry! It contains iron oxide micro-particles that change color with the use of electricity!
Car owners are wowing friends with this chic new paint job! Homeowners can change the color of a wall with their smartphones. At Christmas, walls can glow like a candy cane and change to a luminescence green in a flash!
As wonderful as all these sound, they’re all a lie!
There isn’t a product called “paramagnetic paint” or paint that changes color on demand. Although BMW has an innovative concept, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
In this article, we’ll unpack the truth about paramagnetic paint and explain some of the cutting-edge products that appear to change color.
Is Paramagnetic Paint Real or a Hoax?
In 2014, a video on YouTube showed a car changing colors. The creator claimed they used paramagnetic paint, and when electricity contacted the oxide-rich pigments, the color changed.
This video has been proven to be a hoax. The creator probably used Adobe After Effects to create this illusion. Here’s an article that explains the hoax in more detail.
As things often go in the world of cyberspace, “paramagnetic paint” became an overnight search engine sensation. If you search the web for “How much is paramagnetic paint?” you’ll find many articles.
But when you dig deeper into the content, you learn that the body shop isn’t promoting “paramagnetic paint” but a standard or chameleon paint job. Here’s a great example.
Paint experts on the web use “paramagnetic paint” to bait viewers. They only talk about products like chameleon paint and heat-sensitive paint like the body shops.
For that matter, we did too! But our goal is to educate and inform you of the products and the hoax.
We even reached out to an engineer at Benjamin Moore for another opinion. He quickly squashed the idea of a paint that changed color on command and added that paramagnetic paint doesn’t exist.
With that settled, let’s look into some fantastic products that appear to change color.
What is Electroluminescent Paint?
Electroluminescent paint is truly remarkable! And it’s easy to see why people confuse this product with paramagnetic paint because the car’s color alters.
But the product used emits light which can give the appearance of a color change because of the soft luminance glow coming from the paint.
Here’s how it works. When an electrical current is applied to the electroluminescent paint, phosphorous light is emitted. The light’s color is determined by what color pigment was selected.
So yes, the car’s color does change, but only to another shade. But if you think that you can access multi-colored effects with the flick of a button, think again.
Watch this short video for an explanation of how electroluminescent paint works:
Are There different types of Electroluminescent Paint?
At this time, the industry leader is LumiLor. You’ll also discover LitCoat, but it appears they are no longer in business.
If you explore LumiLor’s website, you’ll be amazed at what their luminance coating can do. And since it adheres to any non-porous material, people use LumiLor on cars, bikes, helmets, and specific clothing.
With remote control, you can make the LumiLor:
- Turn on/off
- Dance to music
Who Uses Electroluminescent Paint?
Most people use electroluminescent paint to create lush nighttime effects on their cars, motorcycles, and even bicycles. You’ll see anything from the entire vehicle glowing a soft luminance to those using it for stripes, swirls, and sharp angles.
LumiLor boasts of being “the world’s thinnest lights” and is cool to the touch, energy-efficient, and emits a pleasant glow. For these reasons, it can be used on the interior of a yacht for subtle lighting and safety vests of night workers for added safety.
Can You use Electroluminescent Paint Yourself?
If you’re a paint professional with extensive experience using an HVLP (high volume, low pressure) spray gun, you could apply LumiLor.
Electroluminescent paint is a five-coat spray system:
- Coat of conductive layer
- Dielectric layer
- Phosphorescent layer
- Conductive layer
- Clear coat
The cost of LumiLor paint depends on the square surface you’ll be painting. An 8-ounce LumiLor Starter Kit retails for around $650, which isn’t cheap!
Additionally, you’ll need:
- Mask for spraying
- Tape (if masking off areas)
- Plastic (if you need to create a spray booth)
For these reasons, most people interested in applying electroluminescent paint will want a professional to do the job. Be sure you find a pro who has worked with products like LumiLor and not just a body shop claiming to have the expertise.
Another reason to hire a professional is that they may be able to get manufacturer rates on the product.
What Is Chameleon And Thermochromic Paint?
We mentioned at the start about other color-altering paints. Here are several currently on the market.
Like the reptile, chameleon paint “changes color” depending on the angle of the light and how you’re viewing the paint job. Picture a pearl that looks white at one angle but then has a violet hue when turned.
When you paint something with chameleon paint, the colors swirl from one shade of blue (or whatever the base coat is) to another. Most people use this paint on cars, motorcycles, and bicycles to give their vehicles a distinct look.
Manufacturers like Dupli-Color and Krylon have various shades of chameleon paint for DIY home projects. Make sure you read instructions as most require a unique base coat to achieve the effect.
Unlike LumiLor, you cannot control chameleon color by remote control, nor does it emit light.
A chameleon professional paint job on your car will be about $10,000. A DIY project with a spray can cost about $15-20.
Temperature Changing Paint (Thermochromic Paint Pigment)
The concept of this paint is simple: the rise in temperature changes the paint’s color. For example, if you paint the hood of your car with this paint, its color will alter when the engine heats up.
The drawbacks to this paint are the cost (around $320 per liter), and UV rays weaken the paint over time.
While some car owners have used thermochromic paint, many see it as a gimmick and not worth the cost or effort. Artists and homeowners use the product more frequently to create unique effects.
You can even paint your nails with thermochromic nail polish!
For personal or home use, thermochromic paint costs around $20-40.
Will Paramagnetic Paint Be A Reality?
With advancements in technology and products like LumiLor, it seems only a matter of time before someone invents color-changing paint by remote control.
As we mentioned at the start, BMW has created a car that can change color with a smartphone.
The BMW iX Flow uses E ink popularized on e-readers like Kindle. It is wrapped in a custom wrap containing millions of micro-capsules of E ink.
The wrapping is the thickness of a hair. Each capsule has a negatively charged white pigment and a positively charged black pigment. When electricity is introduced, one can control which color comes to the surface of the capsule: white or black.
For more information, here’s the article on BMW’s iX Flow.
We hope you better understand the paramagnetic paint hoax and also have a knowledge of the dazzling paint products on the market. And who knows, with BMW’s work with E ink, maybe a candy-striped room for Christmas is closer than we think!
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