According to the researchers, the color would replace the need for air conditioning by absorbing almost no solar energy and directing heat away from the building. Without the building heating up, the air conditioning would not have to be switched on.
?? It is very uninteresting if a surface in direct sunlight is cooler than the temperature your local weather station reports for that area, but we have shown that it can. ?? said Xiulin Ruan, a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering.
The color would not only conduct heat away from a surface, but also away from the earth into space, where the heat spreads indefinitely at the speed of light. This way, heat is not trapped in the atmosphere and contributes to global warming.
What if paint could cool a building enough that air conditioning is not needed? Prof. Xiulin Ruan has done pioneering work in radiation cooling paints. Instead of absorbing sunlight, it radiates the heat back into space. This actually cools surfaces below ambient temperatures, which paint has never done before.
We do not move heat from the surface into the atmosphere. We just throw everything into the universe, which is an infinite heat sink. said Xiangyu Li, a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was working on the project as a PhD student. Student in Ruan’s laboratory.
The surface of the earth would actually become cooler with this technology if the paint were applied to a variety of surfaces, including roads, roofs and cars around the world, the researchers said.
In an article published in the magazine Cell reports physical science (“All day radiation cooling under ambient conditions in commercial paints with high merit”) the researchers show that the color they developed can maintain a lower temperature under direct sunlight and reflect more ultraviolet rays compared to commercial white paint.
Their proof is infrared camera images that were taken of the two colors in experiments on the roof.An infrared camera image shows that radiation cooling white paint, developed by Purdue University researchers (left, purple), can stay cooler than commercial white paint in direct sunlight. (Image: Joseph Peoples)
?? An infrared camera gives you a temperature reading just like a thermometer would tell if someone has a fever. These readings confirmed that our paint is at a lower temperature than its surroundings and its commercial counterpart. Said Ruan.
Commercial Heat Resistant Paints currently on the market reflect only 80% -90% of sunlight and cannot reach temperatures below their surroundings. The white color that Purdue researchers created reflects 95.5% sunlight and radiates infrared heat efficiently.
Developing this color formulation was not easy. The six-year study builds on attempts from the 1970s to develop radiant cooling paint as a viable alternative to conventional air conditioning systems.
The researchers looked at over 100 different material combinations, narrowed them down to 10, and tested about 50 different formulations for each material. They landed on a formulation made from calcium carbonate, an earth-rich compound often found in rocks and seashells.
This compound, used as the filler of the paint, allowed the formulation to behave essentially like commercial white paint, but with greatly improved cooling properties. These calcium carbonate fillers almost do not absorb ultraviolet rays due to a so-called large band gap. a result of their atomic structure. They also have a high concentration of particles of different sizes, which allows the color to scatter a wider range of wavelengths.
According to the researchers? It has been cost estimates that this paint would be both cheaper to manufacture than its commercial alternative and could save about a dollar a day that would have been spent air-conditioning a one-story home approximately 1,076 square feet.
?? Your air conditioner is turned on primarily by sunlight, which warms the roof and walls and makes the interior of your home warmer. This paint basically creates free air conditioning by reflecting sunlight and offsetting the heat gains from your home. said Joseph Peoples, a Purdue Ph.D. Mechanical engineering student and co-author of the paper.
Reducing air conditioning also means using less energy from coal, which could lead to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, the peoples said. The researchers have further studies underway to evaluate these benefits.
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