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Purdue University Researchers Develop World's Whitest Paint, Possibly Eliminating the Need for Air Conditioning

Image Credit: Henry Perks/Unsplash
Image Credit: Henry Perks/Unsplash

Scientists at Purdue University in Indiana created the world's whitest paint that can actually save people money and it's getting a lot of attention. 

Painting buildings and houses with the ultra-white paint is capable of cutting back or eliminating the need for air conditioning by reflecting sunlight. The paint even landed a spot in the 2022 edition of the Guinness World Records book.

"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. 

Ruan and his graduate students created the paint with the idea of making it highly reflective so the sunlight would shine away from a building. That would require it to be extremely white.

In fact, the paint reflects 98.1 percent of solar radiation while simultaneously giving off infrared heat. Because it absorbs less heat from the sun than it emits, the painted object will cool below the air temperature and doesn't consume as much power.

Ruan pointed out, "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 up to 10 kilowatts. That's more powerful than the air conditioners used by most houses."

Researchers are working to create the whitest paint with the intent to curb global warming.  

They reviewed more than 100 different materials, then tested nearly 50 formulations for each material before coming up with the correct one.

A high concentration of the chemical compound, barium sulfate, which is found in cosmetics, and various sizes of that compound is what makes the paint ultra-white.

According to a Purdue news release, scientists partnered with an undisclosed company to make the paint available for purchase as of Sept. 16. 

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