Nanopigment Paint Can Keep Your Car Cooler
A new kind of paint could make summer driving cooler by reflecting more of the Sun's rays.
Researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University are creating a pigment specifically designed for the automotive industry. This pigment will be used in car paint because it reflects more of the infra-red rays in sunlight than traditional paints, which in turn keeps the inside of the car cooler.
The problem with changing the reflectivity of paint is that color is created by reflecting different light wavelengths. Researchers had to carefully decide the best way to reflect infrared (IR) rays without affecting the final color.
"The main challenge in achieving the effect of heat reflection is the need for maintaining the desired color, such as black, which absorbs most heat," study leader Sati Bhattacharya said.
The team achieved this through the use of nanopigments, extremely fine pigment particles mixed with additives to give high reflectivity in the near-IR spectrum.
Research began five years ago, and now researchers are finding even more applications for coatings and plastics made using nanopigments. Basically, the paint can be used anywhere there's a need to reduce heat from sunlight.
This technology has the potential to help reduce energy expended to cool cars, buildings or other structures. There could be other benefits as well. "Replacing the heavy metal-based pigments also helps protect the environment," Bhattacharya said.
The nanopigment technology has been licensed to Aron International, a large pigment manufacturer that exports to more than 45 countries.