Thermochromic pigment?

how do I determine if thermochromic pigment would be safe to laser, or if I should apply it after cutting? I have no idea what to look for to know, and searching/googling isn’t helpful in this context…

You need to find the SDS (safety data sheet) from the manufacturer and see what it lists under ingredients and hazards.


right, but I have no idea what to look for there as a red flag … boy this is a project LOL

it is food safe and non-toxic, but will it ruin it to apply before? ugh

If you post a link to the pigment someone may be able to find more info for you.

Also, it this post may be useful to you going forward… check out #4 specifically:

And lastly, welcome to the forum, I’m curious how this turns out, I don’t think anyone else has posted about thermochromic materials here that I know of.


I expect that there is an upper limit where the pigment would fail and lasering there would certainly go way beyond that limit. Furthur there is a chemical balance closely dependent on temps. If the pigment contains chlorine or sulfur or other metallic ions it could harm the Glowforge.

In general, I think using it after the cutting would end up looking best at the very least.


In the SDS in the combustion products section, look for any mention of chlorinated products (chlorine, hydrogen chloride, hydrochloric acid, etc). Brominated or fluoridated products would probably not be good either.


I’ve “broken” thermochromic pigments at much lower temps than a laser. Once they get too hot, they are never able to get to their cool color fully. If I were a gambling mam, I’d bet against it being a resounding success.


that’s what I was afraid of! I think I’m still gonna give it a go, though.

will do!

In contact with the manufacturer and it might be that I can use a “dust” product with a clear coat on top and it would be fine, as opposed to the liquid product I was originally thinking of using.

We’ll see!

would you mind taking a look in case I missed something? Here’s the MSDS for both products I’m interested in. I think it will be safe, but I’d like a second opinion haha.

Liquid Crystal MSDS.pdf (3.2 MB)
Thermal Dust MSDS.pdf (4.0 MB)

I looked them over, and they are pretty poor examples of Msds I’m afraid. The liquid crystal one especially. They mention wearing full protective gear in the event of fire but don’t say what the combustion products are.

However, if you look at the chemical composition list, one of the four components is problematic. You don’t see chloride mentioned there, but if you look up the cas numbers (just Google cas 910-31-6), you’ll see that what the msds describes as “cholesteric liquid crystal” is in fact cholesteryl chloride. I don’t know for sure, but I would expect anything having chloride is going to give off HCl when heated to burning. I would stay away from it.

I did a search. Here is an Msds for cholesteryl chloride that lists HCl as a byproduct of combustion:

I didn’t see any problems with the thermal dust Msds, as long as your venting is good.


ah, thank you so much! I will be applying the liquid one after for sure, then.

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