Scientists develop the whitest paint ever

Originally published at: Scientists develop the whitest paint ever | Boing Boing

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On a scale from 1 to Mitch McConnell how white is it?

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“New Hampshire.”

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Man, an “ultra-white is the new vantablack” post with no digs at Anish Kapoor? I am disappoint, @pesco!

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I bet its whiteness is described as oppresive

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Can one mix it with the Ventablack to create the Grayest Gray?

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to be marketed under the name
White Privilege™
whiter than white!*

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Don’t cross the streams. That would be bad.

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This product is really interesting. My research pointed towards many materials that make up this paint are extremely bad for the environment. Namely excavating / mining mining [see barium sulphate] the huge amounts of material would not likely offset the savings in electric power, or help the global environment. Perhaps alternate materials will be found with the same results?

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[I]f you were to use this paint to cover a roof area of about 1,000 square feet, we estimate that you could get a cooling power of 10 kilowatts

I assume they mean that in full sunlight (on a day with zero humidity [and therefore no clouds] on the equator), such a roof would absorb 10 kW less energy than an identical one painted with a hypothetical perfect über-Vantablack. (Right?)

Edit: imagine how great this cooling effect would be if the roof were on the planet Mercury!

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I got gifted two 5 gallon white total acrylic roof paint, used it on my shed, so that 500 square feet roof with the white coating. It doesn’t have the same amazing results as this stuff, but it really does cool the roof off, I can walk bare foot in the heat of the day in the desert. Not very scientific, but my feet are pretty tender, and I didn’t burn them…

@JohnEightThirty edit: imagine how great this cooling effect would be if the roof were on the planet Mercury!

Mercury is the new Florida/Arizona.

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I mean, how much would I save painting my roof regular white? A lot probably right? But no one does that, presumably for a reason.

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@Papasan I’ll take that sentiment a step further and point out that recent research says that solar reflectance of roofs isn’t as helpful as we’ve all thought. This article summarizes the paper, Effects of Urban Surfaces and White Roofs on Global and Regional Climate (pdf link here). In short, the urban heat island effect is a very small contributor to the warming climate. Further, the impact of reflecting solar energy back into the atmosphere was overall negative, actually increasing warming.

Quoting from the article we have,

[White roofs] caused a net global warming, largely because they reduced cloudiness slightly by increasing the stability of the air, thereby reducing the vertical transport of moisture and energy to clouds. In Jacobson’s modeling, the reduction in cloudiness allowed more sunlight to reach the surface.

snip

The increased sunlight reflected back into the atmosphere by white roofs in turn increased absorption of light by dark pollutants such as black carbon, which further increased heating of the atmosphere.

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Here’s another hurdle for these types of roof paint, it’s wicked expensive $$$, and not for the DIY people. The application of the paint is not as easy as rolling it on like regular paint, very messy, and considerable material loss when it tends to pile up in places, needs a lot of effort to smooth it down to an appropriate elevation / thickness. In the end, it does work, but it’s not the holy grail it’s often made out to be.

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In the end, it does work…

Yeah, kinda. It works locally - it reduces energy cost in the building. It does NOT work in aggregate as it creates a net warming influence on our shared atmosphere.

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I’ve seen programs promoting that practice in multiple states. People have been doing it for years:

However, it is a controversial solution:

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At the residential level, rarely. In the commercial sphere, it happens in various ways in the great majority of roof projects outside the far upper latitudes. Sometimes it’s non-white roofs receiving a coating system (it’s not “paint” at this level) after installation but more often it’s simply installing a white membrane with a specified albedo or minimum SRI (Solar Reflectance Index).

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My shed agrees with you.

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Right now?

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