PPurdue University professor creates the whitest paint on record
Xiulin Ruan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue invented the paint with his graduate students. The goal was to develop a paint that reflected sunlight away from a structure. However, making this paint extremely reflecting also made it extremely white. Ruan’s lab developed a composition that reflects 98.1 percent of solar energy while also generating infrared heat. Because the paint absorbs less heat from the sun than it emits, a surface coated with it can be chilled to below the ambient temperature without using electricity.
“When we started this project about seven years ago, we had saving energy and fighting climate change in mind,” said Xiulin Ruan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue, in a podcast episode of “This Is Purdue.”
When you paint the houses with this paint it will dramatically reduce the need for air conditioning. The paint, which was created at Purdue University, has been recognized by Guinness World RecordsTM. The record will be included in the Guinness World Records 2022 edition, which will be available for purchase on Thursday (Sept. 16). The researchers didn’t set out to set a world record for the whitest paint; instead, they wanted to reduce global warming.
Commercial white paint, on the other hand, tends to warm up rather than cool down. Heat-reflecting paints on the market can only reflect 80-90 percent of sunlight and can’t keep surfaces cooler than their surroundings.
Purdue researchers demonstrated in a published report that using this new paint composition to cover a roof surface of around 1,000 square feet may result in a cooling power of 10 kilowatts.
An extremely high concentration of a chemical ingredient called barium sulfate – also used in photo paper and cosmetics – and varied particle sizes of barium sulfate in the paint make this paint ultra-white. Because the size of a particle determines what wavelength of sunlight it scatters, a larger variety of particle sizes allows the paint to scatter more of the sun’s light spectrum.
The researchers have partnered with a company to scale up the paint and put it on the market. Patent applications for this paint formulation have been filed through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization.
Purdue University’s Cooling Technologies Research Center and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research’s Defense University Research Instrumentation Program funded this study (Grant No.427 FA9550-17-1-0368). Purdue’s FLEX Lab and Ray W. Herrick Laboratories, as well as Purdue’s Discovery Park’s Birck Nanotechnology Center, were used in the study.