Painting inspired by butterflies is a beautiful and meaningful way to show admiration for these delicate creatures. Butterflies are known to be elusive, fleeting, and breathtakingly beautiful, yet they also represent a sense of transformation and grace. Painters often use their artwork to evoke feelings of joy and wonder, making butterfly-inspired paintings an ideal choice for emotive expression.
It is the lightest paint to date. It might be able to save energy and its different shades should last for centuries. What is surprising, too, is how it was formulated. This is the paint inspired by butterflies.
Specialists call it plasmonic paint. Only 1.4 kg of this enamel would be needed to cover a Boeing 747. At present it would need at least 454 kg of conventional commercial colorant. The structure of the material is what makes the paint so light, with a thickness of only 150 nanometers. The unprecedented composite has a process similar to that which colors butterflies.
“The range of colors and hues in the natural world is amazing,” emphasized nanoscientist Debashis Chanda. He works at the University of Central Florida, who led the team.
The new product uses nanoparticles of two colorless materials: aluminum and aluminum oxide. These are arranged in different ways on an oxide-coated aluminum mirror. It is possible to control how light is scattered, reflected or absorbed.
Contemporary pigment-based dyes require specific molecules to generate color. These are usually synthesized artificially. The electronic properties of each molecule control the amount of light that is absorbed. The surface beneath plasmonic paint can remain 13 to 16 degrees Celsius cooler. “More than 10% of electricity in the U.S. is for air conditioning,” Chanda commented.
Traditional pigment-based paints absorb light and heat. Buildings get much hotter and need more energy to cool down. This increases the demand for air conditioning. The new composite keeps structures cooler.
Other peculiar paintings
For now it is far from mass production due to its current costs. It is not the first type of material that promises some incredible properties. For example, it is Vantablackone of the blackest colors in the world. It is capable of absorbing 99.96% of light.
Likewise, there is the ultra-white shade, which reflects 98.1% of all light. Hence, that it also promises to significantly reduce air conditioning needs. But it is different from butterfly-inspired paint: it relies on pigments to reflect light. The research has been published in Science Advances.