While the summer of 2022 will be one of the hottest on record, the world of science is trying to reduce our carbon footprint to limit the effects of global warming.
In 2019, it was with this idea that a team of researchers at MIT invented Vantablanck, a paint that is blacker than black. Capable of absorbing 99.995% of visible light, this paint could be very useful in the future for keeping objects at a certain temperature.
Smartphone manufacturers have shown interest in this new color. It could make the task of cooling systems much easier. But since this discovery, another team of researchers has tried to achieve the exact opposite.
Therefore, the idea is to produce the whitest paint possible. It is from Purdue University (United States), that scientists presented a target capable of reflecting 98.1% of the emitted light. With this new color they explain that they can reduce the energy consumption of a building, especially in summer.
Using this paint on buildings or even cars could drastically reduce the use of air conditioning. Since this introduction, researchers have continued to work on this painting, in particular trying to make it thinner and lighter.
80% lighter version
This week they present a re-transformed version of this “super white”. They ensure that the paint is thin enough to be used on buildings, cars, and even T-shirts. ” This not only saves money, but also reduces energy consumption, which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions. said Xiulin Ruan, lead author of the study and a researcher at Purdue University.
In a magazine article Cell ReportsPhysical Science,Xiulin Ruan explains that his idea seems to interest many people. ” I’ve been contacted by everyone from spaceship manufacturers to architects to companies that make clothes and shoes.»
Although Ruan’s painting is not yet commercially available, the researcher has already given some key points of his work. In detail, he explains in particular that the paint is composed of hexagonal boron nitride instead of barium sulfate, previously used but too thick. With boron nitride, the light reflectance rate was already 97%.
NASA as the first customer?
A feat made possible by the “nanoplatelet” shape of the molecule. Thanks to this very rare architecture, the rays of light are returned with great force towards the outside. This creates a crisp white color. In the first version of his paint, using barium sulfate, 400 microns (0.4 millimeters) of paint was needed to achieve the desired result. With version 2.0 released this week, only 15 microns are needed.
Being thinner, this new paint is also lighter. 80% lighter than its big brother, it can be attached to cars or planes. It could even be used by the fashion world to whiten clothes with never-before-seen effectiveness. Very interested in this ultra-light paint, NASA could be one of Professor Ruan’s first customers when this “super white” is commercialized.