There are many inventions born out of necessity. But others come from the least likely places. Accidents happen, and sometimes when they occur, something amazing happens in the process. We make a wrong turn and go down a path we would not have taken, which isn’t always a bad thing.
The truth is, some of our most significant discoveries have been due to mistakes. Vulcanized rubber for tires, electricity, fire, the Americas… the list goes on and on. It makes you wonder if the greatest minds are simply accident prone and lucky.
The latest accidental discovery has redefined something we take for granted every day: color.
A new blue
Scientists at Oregon State in 2009 performed chemical tests on new materials for potential use in electronic applications. A chemist named Subramanian and his team mixed manganese oxide and several other chemicals together then subjected them to temperatures up to 2,000°F. They didn’t make a new electronic circuit element. Rather, the mixture turned a unique shade of blue never before seen in reality.
Manganese ions absorb red and green light but reflect only the color blue. The new color is called YInMn Blue, after its chemical composition. Why haven’t we heard about this until now? The University was waiting until it secured an exclusive licensing agreement with the Shepherd Color Company. The color is unique because of more than just its hue.
The creation of the color requires zero toxic chemicals, and that is just icing on the cake. YInMn Blue reflects light so efficiently, it could change the way we decorate. Subramanian says:
We already knew it had advantages of being more durable, safe and fairly easy to produce. Now it also appears to be a new candidate for energy efficiency.
Why? Because with light comes heat. Reflect the light, rather than absorb it, and you avoid absorbing the heat as well. Commercial buildings or even residential homes decked out in YInMn Blue could reap significant reductions in cooling costs in the summer.
Just look at the beautiful city of Chefchaouen, Morocco. The entire city has been painted blue for centuries. The city knows how to keep the temperatures low and the people high.
A psychedelic future
Geoffrey T. Peake, R&D manager of the Shepherd Color Company says that this could open a whole new palette of possibilities.
This new blue pigment is a sign that there are new pigments to be discovered in the inorganic pigments family.
With the advances in computer technology, we can manipulate colors on our screens to any hue we want, but actually producing those specialized colors in real life is hard. Get ready for a beautiful new world. Imagine all the colors you can create in the virtual world able to come to life.
What is your favorite color? Tell us on social media or in the comments below.