Through a new formula, the paint can now be applied to different means of transport, reducing their temperature and thus helping to save energy.
Scientists from Purdue University (USA) altered the formula of what is considered the whitest paint in the world, which was already capable of refracting 98.1% of all light, and managed to make it lighter and more fluid. In a study published this Monday in Cell Reports Physical Science, the researchers described the new properties that will allow it to be used as a coating on different objects and spaces, in order to maintain a lower temperature in them. This will help reduce the use of air conditioners and therefore also carbon dioxide emissions.
Invented in 2021 and already included in the Guinness World Records edition this year, barium sulfate nanoparticles were initially used in the whitest paint in the world, which made it possible to reflect almost all of the sunlight and thus cool exterior surfaces by more than 4.5°C below room temperature. However, to achieve the cooling effect, a layer at least 0.4 millimeters thick had to be applied, which made it impossible to use in vehicles, for example.
Xiulin Ruan, one of the developers of the new formula, said that “everyone, from spacecraft manufacturers to architects and companies that produce clothes and shoes,” had asked him if the paint could be made lighter.
With this motivation, the scientists worked on a new formula and managed to create a nanoporous coating that incorporates hexagonal boron nitride as a pigment. This new version has the ability to refract light by 97.9% and can cool an object that has a layer of only 0.15 millimeters. Also, weighs 80% less than that of barium sulfate.
“This light weight opens the door to all kinds of applications,” said George Chin, a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University. Thus, he added, the new painting “has the potential to cool the exterior of airplanes, cars or trains”which would help keep the temperature lower than outside, particularly in hot weather, and save energy.
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