Could You Be Cooler?

Cooler Durable Color From Shepherd

The Nature of Sunlight and Color

Light energy from the sun spans a wide range of wavelengths. Much of the total energy is absorbed in our atmosphere and never reaches the Earth’s surface. The light that does get through ranges from 300-2500 nanometers (nm) in wavelength.

A portion of this sunlight is visible to the human eye, and it is these wavelengths, from 400-700 nanometers, that are responsible for color. If an object reflects across this entire wavelength range, then it is white. Black surfaces absorb these wavelengths. If some regions of this light are absorbed and others reflected, then the object is colored. For example, an object that absorbs all visible light except the region 400-450 nm appears blue to our eyes, while another that reflects only 650-700 nm light has a red color.

Here is the Solution…

It’s pretty simple, increasing the reflectivity keeps an object cooler.

Arctic technology gives you more reflectivity in aesthetically pleasing colors.

More to Know…

Colored surfaces absorb light at certain wavelengths and reflect it at others. Other solar wavelengths are invisible to us.

Ultraviolet light (<400nm) is full of energy and is responsible for sunburn. Infrared (IR) light (>700nm) is less energetic but comprises a large percentage of the solar energy that actually reaches us. Both Ultraviolet and Infrared light are invisible, and have no effect on color. However, all light, whether visible or invisible, will heat an object that absorbs it.

The more solar energy the object absorbs, the greater the heat build-up. Conversely, the greater the reflectivity of an object, the less it will build up heat sitting under the sun. Two objects can be identical in visible color, yet have very different reflectance characteristics in the Infrared spectrum. The object that reflects IR-light will remain cooler than the object that absorbs it. And because IR-light comprises fully half of sunlight, the IR-reflectivity of an object is even more important than its color when it comes to heat build-up.

In other words, an object doesn’t have to be white to be cool.

A Pigment’s Role…

Two black pigments can have very different infrared reflectance properties.

A pigment’s color is due to its selective absorption/reflection of visible light. There are thousands of types of pigments and each has its unique shade based on its specific pattern of reflectance/absorptance of visible light. Likewise, each pigment has distinct IR-reflective characteristics. Shepherd’s Arctic pigments reflect infrared light. As a result, color shades utilizing a combination of Arctic pigments will exhibit greater Total Solar Reflectance (TSR) than the exact same color made with conventional pigments.

A custom color made with Arctic pigments has enhanced infrared reflectivity. In addition to their reflective properties, pigments can differ in their weatherability, chemical resistance, and other durability criteria. Arctic pigments are Complex Inorganic Pigments (CICP), a class of pigments famous for their extreme resistance to the elements. They show almost no change in color after three decades of exposure to the South Florida sun (see figure).

For this reason, they are the pigments of choice for products that are warranted against fading for 25 years or more.

Up Next…


See how Arctic pigments are being used in real-world situations.

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