Magazine article National Defense

New Paint Could Help Solve Counterfeit Parts Problem

Magazine article National Defense

New Paint Could Help Solve Counterfeit Parts Problem

Article excerpt

* A fledgling Australian company is hoping to break into the U.S. defense market this year with a paint that could help prevent counterfeit parts from making their way into equipment.

Chameleon is a paint containing a unique chemical fingerprint made up of rare earth elements, said Nina Hobson, executive director of Chameleon Asset Protection, which was formed in 2012 after the product was developed.

The paint is invisible under normal circumstances, but under a black light becomes fluorescent. Customers can choose existing color options or have the company create a custom hue.

"You paint this onto an asset... and it dries invisible in minutes," she said. "You take a pinhead sample--and that's all it needs is a pinhead--and we can test that in a lab and it will tell us 100 percent who this belongs to."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Many similar anti-counterfeit products contain plant DNA, which eventually breaks down. However, because Chameleon is made of rare earth, it can better withstand extreme conditions such as high temperatures, she said.

"Once it's on, it's almost impossible to remove," Hobson said. Because the product has only been on the market for a couple of years, the company does not know how long the coating will be effective. …

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