Chemists discover new blue pigment that could help cool buildings


What was once created by accident can now become a promising option for architectural sustainability with the discovery of a vibrant blue pigment that can help cool buildings down.

Chemist from the Oregon State University, Mas Subramanian and his team mixed black magnesium oxide with other chemicals to study applications for electronics back in 2009. One of their samples then unexpectedly turned a brilliant blue.

The pigment is called YInMn Blue, or MasBlue, possesses a structure that has been known previously to scientists and professionals, however it had never been utilised for commercial purposes, including for pigments.


It can be used in paints, with the pigment being highly versatile, and reflects infrared light at the rate of 40%, helping to keep buildings cool. It can also be used in coatings, plastics, as well as sustainable roofing alternatives.

Additionally, none of the ingredients in the pigment are toxic, as well as being durable in the face of water and oil. The pigment is also resistant to fading.

“Ever since the early Egyptians developed some of the first blue pigments, the pigment industry has been struggling to address problems with safety, toxicity, and durability,” explains Subramanian.

Subramanian’s team has received a patent from the U.S. Patent Office for the pigment, and has been working with Shepherd Color Co. to develop commercially-available paint.

The team are currently also working on developing new pigments with similar properties.

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