white paint
Cody Medina
Cody Medina
October 26, 2020 ·  3 min read

Scientist Create Ultra-White Paint So Reflective It Can Cool Buildings Even In Bright Sunlight

The planet is in desperate need of ideas as our world continues to give us unpredictable weather each and every year. Researchers have been consistently testing and theorizing methods that would work best to save our world. As a result, scientists have recently created an ultra white paint that is designed to help combat the rising temperatures related to global warming.

Even though this bright paint is still being tested, the process is actually very simple. The idea is that since this paint is so white, it will be able to reflect heat more effectively, much more than standard white paint. This would be particularly useful for businesses that might have perishable goods or even big data centers that are susceptible to heat. This will help buildings to remain cool during extremely hot weather conditions. (1)

Why Ultra White Paint?

Scientists chose to produce such an ultra white paint for its heat-reflecting properties. The process to make this kind of paint is similar to commercially processed paints. However, the actual makeup of the paint mixture is completely different- it consists of calcium carbonate and excludes titanium dioxide normally found in commercial paints. The particle concentration in this paint is also 60% higher than normal to efficiently scatter sunlight. Additionally, the cost to make the paint is the exact same if not less. (1)

The reason why scientists exclude titanium is so that the product can be applied to telecommunication equipment that are often located outdoors, exposed to the elements. If the ultra white paint is applied then this could help signals greatly reduce the amount of interference during the hotter days. This is only one of many examples that scientists have planned for this very useful paint product. (1)

The Two Day Experiment

Xiulin Ruan, a professor at the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University in Indiana and an author of the study, says “This is critical to the wide application of radiative cooling and to alleviate the global warming effect.” Ruan and his colleagues began testing the ultra white paint on a building during the day when the sun was highest in the sky. (2)

The results from their first trial were encouraging. The paint sample remained 10 degrees C below the ambient temperature at night. The ultra-white paint sat around 1.7 degrees C lower than the surrounding ambient temperature.

In the second trial, the research team tested a part of a pattern that was painted with the novel paint. Then using a commercial white paint of the same thickness on another part. They then used an infrared camera, which was able to reveal that the calcium carbonate-based acrylic paint was more effective. Compared to the commercial swath of paint, the acrylic base was able to maintain a lower temperature under direct sunlight. (2)

The Future Of Ultra White Paint

If tests like these prove to be successful, then the future of ultra-white paint is looking bright. Ruan claims, “It is a persistent task to develop a below-ambient radiative cooling solution that offers a convenient single-layer particle-matrix paint form and high reliability.” Even though this paint seems like it’s ready, there are still some tests that must be performed. (2)

The researchers are planning on conducting long-term reliability studies on how resistant the paint is. This includes ultraviolet light exposure, dust, surface adhesion, water, and detergent. This is all necessary in order to ensure its ability to function as a commercial product. If everything pans out, this could very well be a big step in combating climate change. Having an ultra white paint will not only help various industries fight against the hot weather, it will reduce cooling costs immensely.

The Fight Against Climate Change

As innovative as ultra-white paint is, it’s only dealing with the symptoms of climate change. Even though we are lucky to have people who are devoting their lives to saving the planet, we must do our own individual part as well.

The future is looking very bleak from what modern science tells us if we don’t act soon. It is important that people get more involved with their communities. We must learn to deal with climate change on a local level as well. Whether that means going to the beach to clean up litter or even sorting your recyclables, every little thing helps.