A transparent paint can keep your roof, and more, cool in Summer.

Silica-based paint.Credit: American Chemical Society/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab

We all know that by using a white paint you can reflect sunlight and hence keep a surface from heating up under sunlight. But of course that would make that surface ... white!

At Johns Hopkins University a PhD, Jason Benkoski, is looking at a different way to get the same result. He has created a glass based paint that can be mixed with a normal paint, without altering its colour, that has very good reflective characteristics resulting in keeping the surface from heating up under the Sun.

Of course normal glass is solid and does not get mixed in normal paint. What Jason did was to modify potassium silicate, that dissolves in water so that it can be mixed with paint. The silicate, once painted, dries up giving the paint the reflective characteristics that disperse the infrared light in the atmosphere, keeping the surface cool, without altering the paint colour. 

There are several applications, according to Jason, from painting ships hulls to the roof of your house, and even for playground slides that gets hot under the Summer Sun (even, I would say, the steering wheel of my car!).

Interesting how research on smart materials keeps delivering!

Author - Roberto Saracco

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