Paint Created in Purdue Lab Could Cool Earth

Purdue University researchers say the ultra-white paint remains cool to the touch, even in direct sunlight. (Purdue University/John Underwood)

An ultra-white paint developed in a Purdue University lab is making its way through the innovation pipeline, and it seems its market debut could not come at a better time.

Putting a coat on during scorching summer temperatures sounds counterintuitive, but slapping on a coat of the university's whitest-white acrylic actually lowers temperatures. It is designed to reflect more than 98% of sunlight.

Xiulin Ruan, professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, said the paint cools surface air up to eight degrees Fahrenheit.

"Our paint on the roof kind of sends off all the heat from the sun and from its own emission directly through the atmosphere and lost to the deep space," Ruan explained. "So, the heat totally goes off the earth."

The barium sulfate-based paint is on track to become commercially available in about a year and is expected to cost about the same as a regular can of paint.

Ruan added in hot, dry climates, the ultra-white paint reduces air-conditioning needs up to 40%.

"On certain days when it's not too hot, you do not need to turn on your air conditioners at all," Ruan asserted. "The paint will just provide enough cooling for the temperature indoors to be more comfortable for human beings."

The university is working with an unnamed company to produce the paint. A fine-tuned, lightweight version is being refined to use on vehicles to reflect heat.

By Joe Ulery, Producer

Wednesday July 26, 2023