OSU-discovered compound could keep buildings cool

The makeup of molecules in a chemical compound, transformed by extreme heat in an Oregon State University lab, resulted in a striking blue color and some notable heat-repelling qualities.

The makeup of molecules in a chemical compound, transformed by extreme heat in an Oregon State University lab, resulted in a striking blue color and some notable heat-repelling qualities.

Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered a chemical compound, a "cool blue" pigment that has notable heat reflecting properties that could lead to new approaches to saving energy in buildings.

The patent-approved compound could be used to develop roofing paint and other products that would reduce heat absorption.

"The pigment has infrared heat reflectivity of about 40 percent, which is significantly higher than most blue pigments now being used," said Mas Subramanian, the OSU professor of chemistry who discovered the compound, in a press release.

Subramanian said the pigment is also safe, durable and relatively easy to produce.

Mary Phillips, associate director of OSU's office for commercialization and corporate development, said the university is looking for licensing partners to develop the compound into products.

"We believe it can contribute to new energy efficiency solutions around the world," Phillips said.

OSU said the manganese compound โ€” molecules transformed by a 2,000-degree Farenheit oven into a beautiful blue โ€” was discovered in research funded by the National Science Foundation.

Researchers say it's probably the best blue pigment humans have produced since ancient times โ€“ going back to efforts by the Egyptians, the Han dynasty in China and Mayan cultures. Blue pigments have been sought through history but often had serious drawbacks, such as decaying quickly, being toxic, costly or carcinogenic.

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