Face Paint For Soldiers Protects Against Bomb Blasts

Face paint for soldiers is normally a way to remain hidden from enemies, but new versions of the camouflage may actually protect against the searing heat of bomb blasts.

Researchers have been working on a way to make face paint for soldiers effective against high temperatures, LiveScience reported.They came up with one that is not only able to protect against the dangerous heat but is also resistant to insects and is lightweight as well.

There are actually two dangerous blasts created when bombs explode, explained researcher Robert Lochhead of the University of Southern Mississippi.

“First comes a blast wave of high pressure that spreads out at supersonic speeds and can cause devastating internal injuries,” Lochhead said. “A thermal blast follows almost instantaneously. It is a wave of heat that exceeds 1,112 degrees Fahrenheit (600 degrees Celsius) — that’s as hot as a burning cigarette. The thermal blast lasts only two seconds, but it can literally cook the face, hands and other exposed skin.”

Scientists are looking into a way for face paint for soldiers to go on the same way as sunscreen, leaving behind a thin coating that is resistant to heat. Lab experiments on the face paint has been able to protect longer than the two-second blast of heat that bombs create.

Some tests showed that the face paint was effective for soldiers for up to 15 seconds and sometimes even a full minute. Even though bomb blasts last one a few seconds, they can “literally cook the face, hands and other exposed skin,” Lochhead said.

Researchers worked on a way for the flammable components of the face paint for soldiers to instead by replaced by less harsh elements. Instead of more flammable hydrocarbons typically used in makeup, they used silicone. And even though the insect repellent DEET is normally flammable, they found a way to replace it with a less harsh bug-resistant element.