Recently, researchers have found great potential to decorate buildings with reflective white paint to keep cool,media reported. A team of material scientists is reporting significant advances in this area, producing a new type of ultra-white coating that can reflect up to 98% of solar radiation.
For some time now, scientists have been exploring how white paint can be widely used to significantly reduce the temperature of buildings and even surrounding microclimates. For example, a 2012 study by NASA found that white paint could reduce peak temperatures on New York City roofs by an average of 43 degrees F (24 degrees Celsius).
While researchers continue to explore the possibility, with some even producing reflective coatings from glass, the best-performing white paint on the market reflects about 85 percent of solar radiation. The team from UCLA hopes to improve that by making some adjustments to the recipe.
At present, the key component of cooling white paint is titanium oxide, which can very effectively reflect most visible and near-infrared light. But one drawback is that it absorbs both ultraviolet and purple light, and there is room for improvement. By exploring alternative materials, the team replaced titanium oxide with cheap and readily available ingredients such as the artist’s pigment recrystalline and powdered Teflon (more generally known Teflon). The scientists also reduced the number of polymer adhesives in coatings, which often absorb heat.
By making these changes to the formula, the cooling capacity of an ultra-white coating has been significantly improved to such an extent that it has been shown to reflect up to 98% of incoming radiation during testing. This material can play a significant role in reducing the cooling costs of buildings by reducing the use of air conditioners and other systems. And the team says deploying in a real-world scenario should not require much work.
“The potential cooling benefits that this can generate are likely to be realized in the near future, as the changes we propose are within the capabilities of the paint and coatings industry,” said Jyotirmoy Mandal, a postdoctoral scholar at UCLA. “
The study was published in the journal Joule.