Researchers have developed a new energy-saving paint that is heat resistant, comes in any color and should last for centuries. It has also been described as the lightest paint created to date.
It turned out that the paint was inspired by butterfly wings and was not made from pigment. Instead, color is generated structurally by organizing nanoparticles. The team calls it Plasmon Coating.
They calculate that covering a Boeing 747 would require only 1.4 kg (3 lb) of plasma paint – you would need at least 454 kg (1,000 lb) of regular commercial paint.
And to be clear, this paint was only created in a lab, so we’re far from mass-producing it.
But the researchers have already made paint in different colors using methods that can be easily scaled up, and that’s what they’ll be working on next. One of the main factors driving this coating to market is that it also helps keep structures cooler: the structure of the Plasmonic coating reflects the entire infrared spectrum, so less heat is absorbed.
The researchers say surfaces under fresh paint stay 13 to 16 degrees Celsius (25 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit) colder than if they were coated with regular commercial paint.
“More than 10 percent of all electricity in the United States goes to air conditioning,” says nanoscientist Debachis Chanda of the University of Central Florida, who led the team that created the coating. “Plasmon coating will result in significant energy savings. Less electricity.” also used for cooling. It will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions and reduce global warming.”
Currently, pigment-based paints require certain molecules to create color, and these pigments in modern paints are usually artificially synthesized.
The electronic properties of each molecule determine the amount of light absorbed and hence the color of the resulting paint. This means that for each new paint color there must be a new pigment.
Instead, Plasmonic coatings use nanoparticles of two colorless materials, aluminum and aluminum oxide. By positioning them differently above the anodized aluminum mirror, you can control how the light is scattered, reflected or absorbed.
“The variety of colors and shapes in the natural world,” says Chanda. [مذهلة] – From colorful flowers, birds and butterflies to underwater creatures like fish and cephalopods. Structural coloration serves as the primary mechanism for color formation in many very bright species, where the geometric arrangement of a normally colorless substance produces all colors. On the other hand, with a touch [من صنع الإنسان]For every color that exists, new molecules are needed.” And it’s the structural coloration that makes the paint so light: at just 150 nanometers thick, the paint achieves full color, making it the lightest paint ever made.
In this article, the team created a structural coating using an electron beam evaporator that heats the material at a tightly controlled rate.
This controlled evaporation allows the tiny clusters of aluminum nanoparticles to self-assemble—the aluminum atoms are more attracted to each other than to the oxide substrate they grow on, so they naturally stick together.
By adjusting the pressure and temperature of the cathode beam evaporator, the team can create structures that reflect different colors.
“Critically, this pressure and temperature controlled process provides high reproducibility over large areas in a single step, reducing manufacturing costs and enabling large-scale production,” the team wrote in their paper.
The researchers also combined their structural color chips with a commercial binder, which means the paint will last hundreds of years – at least in theory.
“The natural color fades because the pigment loses its ability to absorb photons,” says Chanda. “Here we are not limited to this phenomenon. Once we paint something with a structural color, it should remain for ages.”
However, we still have a long way to go before we all set up the colors of our Plasmon Paint and only use one small can to paint an entire house.
“Traditional pigment paint is made in large factories where they can produce hundreds of gallons of paint,” says Chanda. “Currently, if we don’t go through the expansion process, it’s still expensive to produce in an academic lab.”
The study was published in the journal Science Advances.
Source: Science Alert