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This Ultra-White Paint Is the Exact Opposite of Vantablack

When it comes to the cutting-edge material Vantablack, the matter’s clearcut: there is “none more black” than it on Earth. Now, however, scientists have invented a white paint that is essentially the exact opposite of Vantablack, and it seemingly deserves the same lofty status in regards to its whiteness. And while that doesn’t detract from Vantablack’s eminence, it does raise the question: Which one of these extreme colors is going to make our lives cooler? Both figuratively and literally.

Scientists have created an ultra-white paint that can reflect 95.5% of sunlight.

Cell Press / Xiulin Ruan, et al.

The scientists who created the new white color, which, unfortunately, doesn’t appear to have an awesome name like “Vantablack,” outlined how they made it in a recent paper published in the journal, Cell Reports Physical Science. In the study, which comes via Futurism, the team says its novel white paint reflects 95.5% of the sunlight hitting it. For reference, white paints commonly used on buildings in the world’s sunbaked regions typically only reflect about 80% of sunlight.

“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,” Xiulin Ruan said in a recent Science Daily article. Ruan, an engineering professor at Purdue University and co-author of the study, added that “This is critical to the wide application of radiative cooling and to alleviate the global warming effect.”

Scientists have created an ultra-white paint that can reflect 95.5% of sunlight.

Cell Press / Xiulin Ruan, et al.

The “below-ambient radiative cooling solution” (i.e. super-white paint) Ruan and his colleagues have developed uses calcium carbonate fillers. Calcium carbonate is an abundant compound found in rocks and minerals; one that makes this paint so reflective thanks to its minimizing the amount of UV light the paint absorbs. The use of calcium carbonate also allows the scientists to leverage a higher concentration of sunlight-scattering particles.

In terms applications, this paint keeps surfaces 18 °F cooler than ambient air at night, and 3°F during the day. In practice, this cooling would translate to making just about any structure one can think of more energy efficient; including data centers, warehouses, and residences. On top of that, the scientists say the super-white paint could be especially useful for 5G network towers. (Apparently 5G towers, as well as many of the devices that currently use 5G, have an overheating problem.)

Scientists have created an ultra-white paint that can reflect 95.5% of sunlight.

Cell Press / Xiulin Ruan, et al.

5G issues aside, however, the original question still remains: Which one of these extreme colors will make our lives cooler? And it seems that, when it comes to literally making our lives cooler, this ultra-white paint will do the trick. While the very tantalizing-sounding Vantablack, on the other hand, will be more of a James Bond kind of cool. You know, the kind of cool that can make a wristwatch worth $75,000.

Feature image: Cell Press/Xiulin Ruan, et al.