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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.