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New Blue Pigment Cleared for Industrial Use

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

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A new blue pigment with infrared-reflective properties is EPA-approved for use in industrial coatings, and is ready for commercial sale, according to the pigment supplier marketing the product.

Licensed from Oregon State University, the new color technology known as YInMn Blue is ready for the market, says Butler, Ohio-based Shepherd Color. The pigment, which also inspired Crayola's new "Bluetiful" crayon, was recently issued a Low Volume Exemption by the Environmental Protection Agency, paving the way for its use in industrial coatings and plastics.

Blue Revolution

YInMn Blue, named so because of its elemental makeup, which includes yttrium, indium and manganese, was first discovered by accident by Oregon State chemist Mas Subramanian. Besides the color’s vibrant hue, its reflectivity—which could help keep structures cool and energy-efficient—is being touted.

Earlier this year, as part of its “Cool Roofs Initiative,” Shepherd tested YInMn Blue’s infrared reflective properties at its Laboratory for Advanced Innovative Research, near Denver.

Oregon State University

A new blue pigment with infrared-reflective properties is EPA-approved for use in industrial coatings, and is ready for commercial sale, according to the pigment supplier marketing the product.

Using two house models, researchers used a standard dark blue—made with high durability pigments—for one small, metal-paneled roof, and a coating of YInMn Blue on another. Both models were placed outside on a sunny, warm day.

Using an infrared imager to test each roof, it was revealed that the standard roof was much hotter than the YInMn Blue model. The imager’s temperature-sensing function showed the standard blue roof was 191 degrees Fahrenheit; the YInMn Blue roof was 168 degrees Fahrenheit.

Production and Testing

According to Sheperd, YInMn’s high temperature calcination production process makes the color technology highly inert, meaning that it can be used in a variety of coatings and plastics while retaining weathering properties. YinMn Blue is infrared-reflective, but is also extremely opaque in the UV and visible parts of the solar spectrum, according to the company.

While the EPA recently granted Shepherd the right to use the coating in industrial coatings and plastics, companies are still testing the new pigment in order to validate complete coating performance. Otherwise, YInMn can be used in plastics for coloring polymers, due to its high temperature stability, color and high opacity.

Other than the EPA-approved options for the pigment, the doors to the world of artistic materials temporarily remain shut, but the company seeks to rectify this by submitting a pre-manufacturing notice to get YInMn on the Toxic Substances Control Act inventory and therefore approved for all uses.


Tagged categories: Coating chemistry; Coating Materials; Colleges and Universities; Color + Design; Industrial coatings; Infrared-reflective pigments; NA; North America; Pigments

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