Camouflage face paint 'resists intense heat from bombs'

US Special Forces during training in the Philippines
Image caption Regular camouflage paint consists of oil and wax, which melts when exposed to intense heat

US scientists have developed a camouflage skin paint said to withstand intense heat.

Funded by the US Department of Defense, it could protect soldiers' faces during explosions, and help firefighters.

It is said to resist temperatures up to 600C - as hot as a burning cigarette - for up to 15 seconds.

Heatwaves from a bomb blast lasted two seconds and could cook skin, the team from the University of Southern Mississippi said.

The researchers presented the material at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia.

Heat-resistant paint for equipment with high operating temperatures, such as boilers, fans and ovens, has existed for some time, but the new substance is also waterproof, non-irritating, easy to apply - and it repels insects.

Instead of the traditional make-up ingredients such as oil and wax that melt and burn the skin when exposed to high temperatures, the scientists used silicone, which does not absorb extreme heat but reflects it.

All military camouflage paint in the US has to contain an insect repellent called Deet, which is extremely flammable. To ensure it does not catch fire, the scientists mixed it with a water-rich hydrogel substance.

The lead researcher, Robert Lochhead, said the paint could also be used for fire-proof clothes, tents, and even tanks, and the team was working on a colourless version for firefighters.

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