Have you seen the headlines? A new shade of paint has found its way into the Guinness World Records Book and it’s catching the world’s attention because of its energy-saving potential.
A Newly-Invented White Paint Might Make Air Conditioning Obsolete -Architectural Digest
Scientists Invented the Whitest Paint Ever to Fight Global Warming -The World Economic Forum
At Purdue University, the whitest paint in the world was developed, not by chance, but as a result of a 7-year project to save energy and fight climate change.
The paint reflects 98.1% of solar radiation and sends infrared heat away from the surface simultaneously. The paint absorbs less heat than it emits which is why a surface coated with this paint is cooled below its surrounding temperature without using any power. The paint is so white that it could reduce or eliminate the need for air conditioning, Purdue researchers say.
Let’s consider the paint on the market right now. Paint that sits on the shelves right now actually gets warmer, rather than cooler, and it doesn’t have the capability of making surfaces cooler than the ambient temperature. Not even commercial “heat-reducing” paints do this as well as this new formulation, as they only reflect 80-90% of sunlight.
To put it all into context, a fresh layer of black asphalt reflects 4% of sunlight, a natural grassland reflects about 25%, and it can go up to 90% for a fresh layer of snow. But 98.1%? This is a new record.
Purdue University researchers were able to show how their paint could keep surfaces 19 degrees cooler than the surrounding temperature at night and cool 8 degrees below the ambient temperature during sunny daylight hours.
The paint was also proven to cool during wintertime. When it was 43 degrees Fahrenheit, the paint was able to decrease the surface temperature by 18 degrees Fahrenheit.
So why is this paint so cool?
When it came down to the actual creation of the paint, the team of researchers at Purdue considered more than 100 white materials and narrowed it down to 10 to test in various formulations.
The paint is so white due to its extremely high concentration of barium sulfate. This compound is used to make photo paper and cosmetics white and is also utilized during the X-ray and CT scan process to coat the walls of the stomach or esophagus to get a clear image.
A key to the compound’s success is that the barium sulfate particles vary in size inside the paint. The idea is that a wider range of particle sizes gives the paint the ability to scatter more of the light spectrum from the sun.
According to Xiulin Ruan, the Purdue University professor at the head of this project, “if you were to use this paint to cover a roof area of about 1,000 square feet, we estimate that you could get a cooling power of 10 kilowatts. That’s more powerful than the central air conditioners used by most houses.”
You might be wondering if the paint can go any whiter for even more energy-saving potential. Unfortunately, if the paint were made any whiter, it would start to peel or crack. There is not much room to make the paint whiter without compromising the quality of the product which will be on shelves in the future.
Purdue researchers have filed a patent and are working with a company to make and sell the paint, according to various sources. The goal is to make it available to everyone and have it land at a comparable cost to paints that are currently on the market.
“We did a very rough calculation,” Ruan told the BBC. “And we estimate we would only need to paint 1% of the Earth’s surface with this paint — perhaps an area where no people live that is covered in rocks — and that could help fight the climate change trend.”
Looking for ways to reduce energy, save money, and fight climate change from home? Sign up for a no-cost Home Energy Assessment by calling (781) 305-3319 or clicking here and learn how you can cut your energy costs and make an impact that matters.
USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/09/17/whitest-paint-created-global-warming/8378579002/
Purdue University: https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2021/Q2/the-whitest-paint-is-here-and-its-the-coolest.-literally..html
Live Science: https://www.livescience.com/whitest-paint-ever.html
BBC News: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-56749105
Yale University: https://e360.yale.edu/features/urban-heat-can-white-roofs-help-cool-the-worlds-warming-cities