The Journal Gazette
Saturday, September 18, 2021 1:00 am

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Paint development places Purdue prof on white track with world record

EDITORIAL BOARD | The Journal Gazette

Clorox has been promising consumers the whitest whites for decades, but Purdue University researchers have delivered.

We told you in April that mechanical engineering professor Xiulin Ruan and his students developed a special paint – the whitest on record, they said at the time – that could reduce the need for air conditioning and decrease reliance on fossil fuels.

They succeeded in at least one area. The paint is included in the 2022 edition of Guinness World Records, which hit stores Thursday.

Ruan and his team wanted to make a reflective paint that would direct sunlight away from buildings. The paint reflects more than 98% of solar radiation and, because it absorbs less heat than it gives off, “a surface coated with this paint is cooled below the surrounding temperature without consuming power,” according to a news release.

Cities such as Chicago have programs to paint roofs white, and paint used there reflects about 90% of sunlight, according to a Washington Post report.

“When we started this project about seven years ago, we had saving energy and fighting climate change in mind,” Ruan said on the “This is Purdue” podcast.

A statement from Purdue says researchers are working on plans to sell the paint commercially, and patent applications have been filed. 

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