The Whitest Paint Has Been Developed, and It’s Helping Combat Climate Change

Posted inDesign News
Whitest White Paint Engineer

Picking a color to paint your walls is never easy, and once you choose the color, hundreds and hundreds of colors are within the color range. Take the color white, for example. There’s “Simply White,” “Super White,” “White Dove,” “Alabaster,” “Pure White,” “Dover White,” and the list goes on and on and on again. 

In the latest white paint news, engineers and scientists, including Xiulin Ruan, from Purdue University have created an ultra-white paint dubbed as the whitest white paint ever made. The hue is so white that it earned a Guinness World Record title for being the whitest paint.

There are two features in this specific paint that give it its advanced coloring system. First, the high concentration of the chemical compound known as barium sulfate, and second, the barium sulfate particles are all different sizes within the paint. Barium sulfate is used in materials like paper, wallpaper, linoleum, oilcloth, rubber, and plastics to make these materials more white in appearance; it’s using the different sizes of the compounds in this paint that make it unique. 

The size of the compound determines how much each particle will scatter light, so by utilizing a more comprehensive range of particle sizes, the paint will diffuse more of the light spectrum. 

And while that might sound simple when broken down to its simplest form, the paint took over six years of research and development to create. 

But besides making choosing a white paint color more simple, creating this paint color originally began as a project intended to curb climate change. 

Because this paint is so uber-white, it reflects up to 98.1% of sunlight, which then helps cool buildings. The ingenious method of using color to reduce heat helps reduce cooling costs but also aids dilemmas like the urban island effect, where a city experiences much hotter temperatures than that of a rural landscape nearby often caused due to a lack of greenery and heat trapping urban building materials, and helps alleviate global warming. According to an article from Purdue University, if you coat a building with this paint, it might one day be enough to decrease the need for an air conditioning unit.

This same article quotes Xiulin Ruan, a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering, as stating, “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.”

So, sure, it’s cool to have the title of “Whitest Paint Ever Made,” but the purpose and intentions behind the paint are what make it truly shine, er, cool.