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Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

December, 2007

IR (Infrared) Paint

Q: I am searching for Infrared (IR) paint to be used on military vessels.  The objective of the (IR) Infrared paint will NOT be for heat retention, conversley we are looking for a protective barrier to reduce/eliminate Night Vision dectection.  Would you happen to know where I can go to source?  Please advise.

A: I'm not sure if what I tell you is what you are looking for. The IR paints used on military vehicles is for camouflage purposes. In this case "camouflage" does not only mean that the paint camouflages the vehicle in sunlight (during the day), but it is also designed to camouflage the vehicle using night goggles. For instance, some greens from vegetation and trees might appear dark green when viewed in sunlight, but are bright when viewed using IR illumination.  The camouflage coatings that are used by the US Army and NATO forces have been formulated with pigments that behave similarly to vegetation both in sunlight and under IR illumination. Presumably, the same applies to the coatings used in desert environments (Iraq) or in Arctic regions where everything is white. These coatings can be purchased from companies such as Sherwin-Williams, Hentzen Coatings and others, but don't expect your local industrial paint stores to stock them.  You might need to write or call these companies to find out how to purchase their products. 

If you are looking for coatings that absorb all light (appear black) when viewed with Night Vision Detection, you might need to contact the same companies to get more information. Alternatively, there are some companies that make highly sophisticated pigments for such applications, and you might need to search Google for their names.


Ron Joseph

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