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Scientists Develop ‘Super-White’ Cooling Paint Which Could Replace Air-Conditioning

Scientists claim they have created a new super-white paint which can reflect 95.5% of sunlight off buildings and can prevent outdoor telecommunications equipment from overheating.

The acrylic paint, developed at Indiana’s Perdue University, is designed with calcium carbonate filters to minimise the levels of ultraviolet light it absorbs.

This is in lieu of the standard titanium dioxide particles.

Researchers say the paint could be used to keep buildings and homes cooler naturally without the need for air conditioning and other cooling technology.

It can also be used to prevent outdoor telecommunications equipment from overheating.

Purdue researchers Xiulin Ruan (left) and Joseph Peoples use an infrared camera to compare the cooling performance of white paint samples on a rooftop. (Purdue University photo/Jared Pike)

During testing, the paint remained 10 degrees Celsius below the surrounding temperature at night and up to 1.7 degrees Celsius lower when the sun was at its peak.

Xiulin Ruan, a professor at Purdue’s School of Mechanical Engineering, says the paint can help combat climate change by negating the need for cooling technology.

“Our paint is compatible with the manufacturing process of commercial paint, and the cost may be comparable or even lower,” said Ruan.

“The key is to ensure the reliability of the paint so that it is viable in long-term outdoor applications. This paint may even be used to combat climate change since it rejects sunlight and radiates heat into space.”

Ruan estimates a typical US home of 200sqm using this paint would save about $50/month on cooling costs, compared with an existing heat-resistant paint.

“Your air conditioning kicks on mainly due to sunlight heating up the roof and walls and making the inside of your house feel warmer. This paint is basically creating free air conditioning by reflecting that sunlight and offsetting those heat gains from inside your house,” said Joseph Peoples, a Purdue Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering and a co-author of the work.