Last year, we wrote about a team of researchers led by Purdue University mechanical engineering professor Xiulin Ruan who invented a kind of paint that is so white it reflects more than 95 percent of the sunlight that falls on surfaces covered in it. We love keeping track of solutions as they develop, and we are happy to give our readers an update on what this team has been up to lately.
In a new mixture, the team has created a paint that is so reflective it is now pushing up to 98.5 percent of the sun’s rays back out into space! And this ultra-ultra-white paint has some awe inspiring cooling powers as well. In a recent paper, the team reported that it could keep outdoor surfaces eight degrees (Fahrenheit) cooler in the heat of the day, and an incredible 19 degrees cooler than the ambient surroundings at night.
According to the paper, this lowering of temperatures can also significantly drop the need for air conditioning, making it a solution to improve a building’s efficiency. This technology is both super simple and quite innovative and can lead to significant electricity savings, while not being too expensive to make.
On a recent podcast, Professor Xiulin shared his surprise at the intense buzz that his team’s finding has been making lately – even earning a mention on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show. It’s earned a Guinness world record title for being the whitest paint ever, and has been getting lots of great press from NPR to BBC and beyond. Professor Xiulin also mentioned that the team has now partnered with a paint company to make the paint commercially available. That’s what we call cool!
Source study: ACS Publications – Ultrawhite BaSO4 Paints and Films for Remarkable Daytime Subambient Radiative Cooling
This story is part of our ‘Best of 2021’ series highlighting our top solutions from the year. Today we’re featuring science solutions.