Scientists create the whitest-white paint to fight global warming

Sure, advertisers have been boasting for years of products that can get everything its whitest, from dress shirts to teeth. But scientists at Purdue University actually have the stuff, literally: They’ve created the whitest paint ever.

That’s right, on the heels of the invention of the blackest black substance, Vantablack, researchers at Purdue University have crafted BaSOUltrawhite, the whitest white paint eve.  It’s even certified as such by the Guinness Book of World Records

The paint is so white, researchers say its reflected glory could eliminate the need for air conditioning in homes. 

“When we started this project about seven years ago, we had saving energy and fighting climate change in mind,” said Purdue mechanical engineering professor Xiulin Ruan in an episode of the podcast This Is Purdue.

The paint reflects 98.1% of solar radiation while also emitting infrared heat. What that means is it absorbs less heat than it emits, such that an Ultrawhite-painted surface actually cools compared to the air that surrounds it, without consuming power.  

By comparison, although your standard white paint does reflect about 80-90% of light that strikes it, it also absorbs heat, warming the surface it covers.

In a published paper, the Purdue researchers showed that 1,000 square feet of roof area covered in their new Ultrawhite paint has the same cooling effect of 10 kilowatts of air-conditioning energy.

Says Ruan: “That’s more powerful than the air conditioners used by most houses.”