New Shade of Blue Release for Commercial Use

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Since Ancient Egyptian times, making a blue pigment that does not fade and is not toxic was something color makers have had trouble with. Currently, most blue shades are created by crushing lapis lazuli, although there are toxic variants available, like Prussian blue. In 2009, scientists accidentally discovered a new non-toxic, bright shade of blue made of other materials. Now, after going through a licensing company, it will be released for consumers to use. This special shade is called YInMn, due to the elements that make it up: Yttrium, Indium and Manganese.

A team of chemists at Oregon State University was trying to construct new substances out of manganese oxide through various electronics experiments. During one of these, the researchers mixed black manganese oxide with a variety of chemicals and brought the sample to 1,093° Celsius, or 2,000° Fahrenheit. By accident, one resulting material was an incredibly vibrant blue. More tests showed that a special crystal structure making up the material prevents the bright blue from ever dulling, even when combined with water. The manganese ions take in all green or red light wavelengths, ensuring that the blue color stays blue.

This new shade could prove to be useful for energy efficiency. YInMn blue has an infrared reflectivity of about 40 percent, which means that if a roof was painted with it, the house could possibly maintain a lower than average temperature, due to light bouncing off the top. It also opens up new possibilities: there could be other undiscovered pigments that might possess similar properties. In the meantime, both artists and art restorers have begun to make use of the new shade in their work.

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