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Scientists create world’s whitest paint to fight global warming

By Carlos Manuel Eusoya

PHOTO: Purdue University

From electric cars to solar panels, we’ve heard of many innovations created to help curb global warming. But, have you ever thought of paint as a tool to fight climate change?

Researchers from Purdue University have created the world’s whitest paint: our newest weapon against the rising temperatures of the planet. The paint, which reflects 98.1% of solar radiation, has already been declared by the Guinness World Records as the whitest paint ever made in history.

“When we started this project about seven years ago, we had saving energy and fighting climate change in mind,” Xiulin Ruan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue, quoted.


The science behind paints

Most white paints reflect sunlight away from a building. However, the current commercial paints found in the market only reflect 80% - 90% of sunlight. These products make the building warmer instead of cooler.

Meanwhile, the paint invented by the Purdue researchers reflects 98.1% of sunlight and emits infrared heat. The paint absorbs less heat from the sun as compared to the heat it emits. Thus, a surface coated with this paint is cooled down below the surrounding temperature.

The scientists had considered over 100 different materials to create the paint, narrowed the materials down to 10 and tested about 50 different formulations for each material. In the end, they decided to use one compound to make the paint ultra-white: barium sulfate (a chemical also used in photo paper and cosmetics).


Future plans

The paint can make rooms or buildings cooler without consuming power. “[The paint] is more powerful than the air conditioners used by most houses,” Ruan explained. Using the new paint to cover a roof area of 1,000 square feet could result in a cooling power of 10 kilowatts.

Since the paint can act as a substitute for air conditioners, it can reduce the use of fossil fuels and other unclean forms of energy. This will help in the fight against global warming.

The researchers have partnered with a company to put the paint on the market; however, the company has not been named by Purdue University yet.

Indeed, there are many innovations that have been created to combat climate change and global warming. The world’s whitest paint developed by the researchers in Purdue is one of these tools, as it helps us to transition towards a greener lifestyle.


Report sources: USA Today, Purdue University