Newly Developed White Paint Can Keep Surroundings Cool

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. ambient / ˈæm bi ənt / (adj) – existing in all surrounding areas

    I can hear a lot of ambient noise in the recording.

  2. thrifty / ˈθrɪf ti / (adj) – managing or using money wisely or carefully

    She walks to work instead of riding the bus because she’s trying to be thrifty.

  3. comparable / ˈkɒm pər ə bəl / (adj) – describing two or more things that are very similar in size, amount, or characteristics

    My friend’s 6-year-old son is a genius, and his math skills are comparable to a college student’s.

  4. gauge / geɪdʒ / (v) – to measure or calculate something

    The speed of a vehicle is gauged by a device called a speedometer.

  5. durability / ˈdʊər ə ˈbɪl ɪ ti / (n) – the quality of being able to withstand damage, pressure, or long-term use

    Oak wood is known to have great durability.


Read the text below.

Engineers from Purdue University have developed a white paint that can keep surfaces cooler than their ambient surroundings.

The new super-white paint reflects 95.5% of the sunlight that hits any surface coated with it. The paint prevents surfaces from absorbing sunlight and sends heat away from the surface, making it significantly cooler than the temperature of the surrounding area throughout the day.

The researchers suggested that the paint can be a thrifty alternative to air conditioners while also lessening greenhouse gas emissions caused by these appliances and other cooling devices.

Xiulin Ruan, a professor at Purdue’s School of Mechanical Engineering, said calcium carbonate fillers were used to lessen the amount of ultraviolet light that was absorbed by the paint.  Calcium carbonate, which is usually found in chalk and seashells, replaced titanium dioxide particles commonly used in commercial paint.

The new paint was compared with other ‘heat-rejecting’ white paints. Results showed that the other white paints only reflected about 80 to 90% of visible light and failed to achieve temperatures lower than their surroundings. During the experiment, the new paint was 10 degrees Celsius below the temperature of the surrounding area at night and at least 1.7 degrees Celsius lower at peak sunlight.

According to Ruan, the production process of the new paint is comparable to the manufacturing process of commercial paint, and the cost of production may even be much cheaper. It has many applications, including preventing outdoor telecommunications equipment from overheating.

Ruan and his colleagues will continue testing the paint to gauge its resistance against dust, liquids, and other substances. They will also continue developing the paint’s durability so it can last in long-term outdoor conditions. They are also looking at the possibility of making other colors with similar cooling properties in the future.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think the paint can really replace air conditioners in the future? Why or why not?
• Who do you think is most likely to purchase the paint (e.g. homeowners, climate change advocates)? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Do you think technology that combats heat will become a basic necessity in the future? Why or why not?
• Do you think cooling technology should be eco-friendly? Why or why not?