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How “white” is white?

Scientists Create Whitest Paint Ever Which Reflects 98% Sunlight To Keep Homes Cool

World’s whitest paint, has been finally developed by engineers at Purdue University in Indiana that claims to reflect 98.1 percent of sunlight. In case you thought this wasn’t a big deal, paints in the market as of now can only reflect around 80 to 90 percent of sunlight. The new paint technology will help buildings covered by this paint to be cooler for longer, eliminating pressure on air conditioning technology and help combat global warming.

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Just last year in October, the team unveiled a paint that reflected 95.5 percent of sunlight, which was unprecedented for the time, and now, they’ve managed to make it even better, reflecting 98.1 percent of sunlight.

Researchers have been on the lookout for the perfect combination for six years. They’ve tried over 100 different materials along the way and brought them down to 10, and then tested 50 different formulations for each material.

Xiangyu Li, a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was also a part of the research. explained, “We looked at various commercial products, basically anything that’s white. We found that using barium sulfate, you can theoretically make things really, really reflective, which means that they’re really, really white.”

Last year, in order to make paint the most reflective, researchers made use of calcium carbonate. However, for the most recent version, they’ve made use of barium sulfate. In case you didn’t know, barium sulfate is commonly used in making photographic paper as well as in cosmetics to generate the white colour.

Xiulin Ruan, a professor at Purdue University explains, “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.”

What’s unique about barium sulfate is that each particle is unique in size, some are too big and some are small, this allows for light to scatter in a broad range, resulting in the highest reflectance.

Researchers claim that getting the reflectiveness over 98.1 percent would get tricky as that could result in compromising the paint’s structural integrity — a higher barium sulfate concentration would make the paint break and peel off, according to researchers.

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Where would this be useful?

Apart from having the outside of the buildings painted white, this could also benefit cities like Los Angeles, who painted their streets white around two years ago, to reflect more heat that’s often absorbed by the dark asphalt. This asphalt often absorbs 80 to 90 percent of the sun’s rays and even raises the temperature in the surrounding area.

The white coating called CoolSeal results in temperatures being 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit cooler. According to EPA, this can not only prevent heat-related deaths and illnesses but also limit water quality depletion that is caused by heated ground.

Using the novel paint technology with barium Sulfate could make the streets even cooler and help us give a better chance against global warming.

 

source : indiatimes

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