Shepherd Color announces new YInMn Blue Pigment

The Shepherd Color Co. is excited to announce the groundbreaking “YInMn Blue” technology, licensed from Oregon State University, and inspiring the new “Bluetiful” crayon color from Crayola, is ready for commercial sale. The US EPA granted Shepherd Color a Low Volume Exemption (LVE) so this new pigment, commercially known as Blue 10G513, can be used in industrial coatings and plastics. The new Blue is revolutionary because it is a new pigment chemistry that expands the range of colors available that stay cooler when exposed to the sun, allowing building material manufacturers to meet regulatory requirements and potentially save energy.

The high temperature calcination production process makes the Blue 10G513 highly inert. While it is highly IR-reflective, it is extremely opaque in the visible and UV parts of the solar spectrum. The inertness means that it can be used in a wide range of coatings and plastics and have excellent weathering properties. The world’s largest and most sophisticated coatings companies are testing Blue 10G513, where it is showing promising results. Due to the multiple decade warranties common with pre-painted coil-coated building products and the newness of this pigment, the extensive testing needed to validate the complete coating performance hasn’t been validated yet. Blue 10G513 can also be used in plastics where its high temperature stability, high opacity, and color make it a unique pigment for coloring polymers.

While the EPA has given us the approval for use in industrial coatings and plastics, at this time they have not been granted approval for use in artist color materials in the US. We are filing a full PMN (Pre-Manufacturing Notice) to get Blue 10G513 on the TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act) inventory and approved for all applications. Please contact your local Shepherd Color representative for local market availability.

Blue 10G513 represents one example of Shepherd Color’s dedication to providing new and impactful pigment chemistries to the coatings, plastics and other materials markets. The new YInMn Blue 10G513 follows our one-of-a-kind NTP Yellow- a chromatic, bright, and opaque mid-shade yellow, and RTZ Orange- which together push the edge of the durable color envelope. Our Arctic IR-reflective pigments give class leading properties in Total Solar Reflectance (TSR), masstone jetness, and tint strength. These highly useful pigments are also available in our easily-dispersed Dynamix product line that allows the rapid development of new coatings and their effortless scale-up in production. With ongoing advances in color and technology, rely on Shepherd Color to Brighten Your Life with quality products and the latest innovation. Please contact your Shepherd Color representative or Mark Ryan, Marketing Manager, at (513) 874-0714 for more information.

Real World Application of YInMn Blue

The recent blog post Beauty is Beyond the Eye of the Beholder used data to show the advantage of making dark blue colors that have improved IR reflectance. This blog post looks at the real world application of that technology.

Cool Roofs1 are one way to reduce the energy needed to air condition buildings. One of the hardest colors to make cool is dark blues. To show what YInMn can do to make roofs cooler we prepared two metal panels painted in the same shade of dark blue and placed them on model houses. The roof on the left is made with standard high durability pigments2 while the roof on the right based on YInMn Blue3 discovered by Oregon State’s chemist Mas Subramanian. The two house models were then placed outside on a sunny, calm, warm day4 at Shepherd Color’s mountain LAIR (Laboratory for Advanced Innovative Research) in the Denver, Colorado area.

When you look at the houses, you can see that they are the same visual color- a nice dark blue compared to the white houses and the dark gray platform.

The difference between the two roofs, after being exposed to the sun and allowed to stabilize in temperature, is invisible to the naked eye, but can be seen if we use an instrument that is sensitive to the far-IR wavelengths such as a FLIR® imager5. This imager turns the temperature of an object into visual information with hotter items being brighter with white being the hottest. We can even isolate the roof from the rest of the picture. As you can see, the standard version of the blue roof is getting hotter than the YInMn Blue version of the same color.

Besides this qualitative difference, we can use the FLIR® imager to quantitatively tell the difference is temperature. By looking at a composite picture in the red ‘hottest’ mode and using the imager’s temperature sensing function, we can see that that standard blue roof is 191F(88C) while the YInMn blue roof is 168F(75C).


The temperature difference between the roofs can be explained by examining them with another instrument- a spectrophotometer in our laboratory that reports the reflectance from the visible and also the invisible near-infrared (n-IR) and ultraviolet (UV). While only a few percent of the sun’s energy is in the damaging UV, roughly half of the sun’s energy is in the visible part of the spectrum we use to see color, while the other half is in the invisible n-IR.

You can see that the reflectance curves are very similar in the visible (400-700nm) section of the graph since the roofs are the same color. Where they differ is in the invisible n-IR area past 700nm. Here, the standard blue and black pigments combine to make the standard dark blue have very low reflectance. Total Solar Reflectance (TSR) is used to describe how much of the sun’s energy an object reflects. The higher the TSR, the more energy reflects and less energy absorbed, the cooler an object can stay. You can see that the standard dark blue has a TSR of 8 while the YInMn based blue has a TSR of 28. This 20 percent difference in TSR is what allows the YInMn Blue to stay cooler when exposed to the sun.

This concept of having lower absorption of the sun’s energy (reflecting more of it away) is the idea behind the ‘cool roof’ programs that has been part of the EPA’s Energy Star roofing program, the USGBC LEED program, California’s Title 24 building codes and other codes, programs, rebates and tax incentives around the world. If roofs stay cooler, the building heats up less and less energy (and peak energy usage in the afternoon) is needed to cool a building. The YInMn Blue pigment is one part of Shepherd Color’s range of Arctic® IR reflective pigments. At the core of the technology is our ‘Black Rainbow’ of IR reflective black pigments. Depending on your particular application there is an optimized product to help you make the coolest paint, coating, plastic, concrete or plaster for a wide range of building products.

1. A large part of the heat that enters a building comes from the roof. Adding insulation below the roof deck or venting an attic are ways to deal with this heat before it enters the living space and raises temperatures or has to be dealt with my air conditioning. To prevent the heat from ever entering the house, the roof can be made to reflect the sun’s energy. This is the concept behind the move towards ‘Cool Roofs’. The easiest way to do this is paint the roof white, but that is not the preferred aesthetic for steep slope roofs that are visible from ground level. People tend to like darker colored roofs. The hard part is making a dark colored roof that reflects away the heat created by the sun. The new YInMn blue makes dark blue shades possible that are highly durable and stay cooler than standard dark blue roofs.
2. Standard blue is formulated with Shepherd Color Blue 10C595 (PBl28) and a Shepherd Color Black 430 (PBk28).
3. YInMn dark blue is made with Shepherd Blue 10G513 (YInMn Blue) and Shepherd Color 30C941 (PBr29).
4. 850watt per square meter sunlight at about 85F/30C air temperature.
5. FLIR One imager for iPhone5.