Scientists create ‘whitest ever’ paint that can reflect 99% sunlight, reducing need for ACs

Image Source: Purdue University/Jared Pike

Researchers at Purdue University have created what they call the ‘whitest’ paint yet, which is capable of reflecting 98.1 per cent of the sunlight. If used on a mass scale, this might reduce the need for air conditioning and help mitigate the effects of climate change.

This ultra-white paint is made up of a compound called barium sulphate as opposed to conventional paint, which uses the compound calcium carbonate or titanium dioxide pigment. The particles of barium sulphate are made up of wide-ranging sizes, and because the amount of light scattered by a particle is heavily dependent on its size, they disperse the rays of the sun readily.

Conventional paint absorbs 10 to 20 per cent of the sunlight. However, this ultra-white paint will absorb merely 1.9 per cent of sunlight, a minuscule amount that would enable a building to lose heat overall.

“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,” said lead researcher Xiulin Ruan, professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue.

“Our paint can help fight against global warming by helping to cool the Earth – that’s the cool point,” he added. “Producing the whitest white means the paint can reflect the maximum amount of sunlight back to space.”

Ruan also confirmed that the paint was not a risk to people’s eyesight: “Our surface reflects the sunlight diffusely, so the power going in any particular direction is not very strong. It just looks bright white, a bit whiter than snow.”

As for being produced in mass quantities, the researchers confirmed that this would be possible and not very expensive as barium sulphate is actually cheaper than titanium dioxide.

Isn’t this an interesting findings? Do you think it will be a norm in the near future? Let us know your views in the comments section below.

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