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Can painting the outside of your home the right color eliminate the need for air conditioning? Sounds like science fiction, but it could soon become a reality.
Purdue University scientists have created the whitest color in the world – certified by no less a government agency than the Guinness World Records – while potentially reducing the need for air conditioning.
The paint reflects 98.1% of the solar radiation and at the same time emits infrared heat. Because the paint absorbs less heat than it gives off, it keeps the surface of the house cooler than the ambient temperature.
The new color is different from the standard white color, which only reflects 80 to 90% of the sunlight. This prevents such a paint from cooling the surface it is coating.
On the other hand, the new paint could generate a cooling capacity of 10 kilowatts on a roof area of around 1,000 square meters. Xiulin Ruan, professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue, notes that such an effect is “stronger than the air conditioners used by most homes.”
According to a Purdue press release:
“Two properties make this color ultra white: a very high concentration of a chemical compound called barium sulfate – which is also used in photo paper and cosmetics – and different particle sizes of barium sulfate in the paint. The wavelength of sunlight that each particle scatters depends on its size, so a wider range of particle sizes allows the color to scatter a larger part of the sun’s light spectrum. “
The Purdue researchers are currently working with a company to bring the paint to market. But until it’s available, you can try to stay cool cheaply by following the tips in How to Build Your Own DIY Air Conditioner in Minutes.
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