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Researchers Confirm Coolness of 'Egyptian Blue'

Thursday, November 8, 2018

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Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently confirmed the cooling characteristics of an ancient pigment: Egyptian blue.

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Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently confirmed the cooling characteristics of an ancient pigment: Egyptian blue.

The color was routinely used in ancient depictions of gods and royalty, and while previous studies have shown that the pigment absorbs visible light and then emits a near-infrared range, Berkeley says that its scientists have now confirmed that the pigment’s fluorescence is up to 10 times stronger than previously believed.

The Research

The work was led by Paul Berdahl of the laboratory’s Heat Island Group as part of the Cool Walls project supported by the Electric Program Investment Charge program of the California Energy Commission.

“Measuring the temperature of surfaces coated in Egyptian blue and related compounds while they are exposed to sunlight, Berkeley Lab researchers found the fluorescent blues can emit nearly 100 percent as many photons as they absorb,” the lab said.

“The energy efficiency of the emission process is up to 70 percent (the infrared photons carry less energy than visible photons).”

The researchers say that, in addition to being an effective choice for cooling roofs and facades, the pigment also has potential for producing solar energy, and could be used to tint windows or photovoltaic cells.

   

Tagged categories: Cool roof coatings; Pigments; Research and development

Comment from William Rosbottom, (11/8/2018, 9:32 AM)

Perhaps why the Tuaregs have traditionally used blue for their clothing. They've been called the "blue people" for the indigo-dye colored clothes they traditionally wear and which stains their skin. Perhaps the blue also keeps them cooler than other colors, due to the fluorescence.


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