Researchers Develop Cooling Paint Lowering Temperature

Sunday, September 30, 2018 - 16:18

A team of U.S. researchers has created a cooling paint that can coat just about any surface, lowering its temperature by 6°C.

The advance underscores "terrific progress in this field," says Xiaobo Yin, a materials scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder whose team has developed a passive radiative cooling plastic film and has formed a startup company, Radi-Cool, to commercialize it, Science Magazine reports.

The new materials, Yin says, could drop cooling costs by up to 15% in some climates. "It's quite a big number," he says. And with 17% of all residential electricity use in the United States going toward air conditioning, the savings could be substantial.

White paints typically reflect only about 80% of visible light, and they still absorb ultraviolet (UV) and near-infrared (near-IR) rays, which warm buildings. To do better, the new materials start by incorporating materials or structures that reflect nearly all the sun's incoming rays, including near-IR heat and, in some cases, UV as well.

They also contain polymers or other substances that, because of their chemical makeup, radiate away additional heat as mid-IR light, at wavelengths of 8 to 13 micrometers. The atmosphere does not block these wavelengths, effectively allowing the materials to shed excess heat into space without warming the surrounding air.

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