A special paint that can help keep cars cool in harsh sunlight is in the offing.

The Rheology and Materials Processing Centre (RMPC) of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) is working on pigments that combine aesthetics with functionality like reflecting heat off metal surfaces.

By reducing the absorption of heat in the form of solar near-infrared radiation (IR), a vehicle’s internal temperature can be significantly reduced, leading to improved comfort and reducing the use of air-conditioning.

Sati Bhattacharya, programme leader and past director of the RMPC, said the research involved synthesis of novel pigments, which when combined with suitable additives could provide a range of colours with high near-IR reflectivity.

“The main challenge in achieving the effect of heat reflection is the need for maintaining the desired colour, such as black, which absorbs most heat,” Bhattacharya said.

The RMPC began focusing its research and development into nano- and sub-micro pigments and composites five years ago, after identifying commercial opportunities for the nanocomposites area, said an institute release.

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