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Purdue's record-setting white paint now thinner, and it could save energy costs

thin ultrawhite paint formulation.jpg
Posted at 6:27 AM, Oct 04, 2022

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University is continuing to work on the world's whitest paint.

The Guinness World Record holding paint is now thinner, lighter and could soon be available for purchase.

"We are in discussions right now to commercialize it,” said Xiulin Ruan, a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering and developer of the paint. "There are still a few issues that need to be addressed, but progress is being made.”

Purdue says the paint keeps surfaces so cool that it could reduce the need for air conditioning. Since its creation, Ruan says the two questions they've gotten are where it can be purchased and whether it can be thinner.

The original paint could cool outdoor surfaces by 4.5°C, but the number of layers required for the paint could be too much for items with size and weight requirements.

The original paint needed to be in a layer that was at least 400 microns thick. The new formula only needs one 150-micron layer and weighs 80% less while providing nearly the same amount of solar reflectance.

“This light weight opens the doors to all kinds of applications,” said George Chiu, a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering and an expert in inkjet printing. “Now this paint has the potential to cool the exteriors of airplanes, cars or trains. An airplane sitting on the tarmac on a hot summer day won’t have to run its air conditioning as hard to cool the inside, saving large amounts of energy. Spacecraft also have to be as light as possible, and this paint can be a part of that.”

Patent applications have been filed for the paint formulation.

This article was written by Michelle Kaufman for WRTV.