Functional pigments with heat-reflecting properties keep the heat out

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  • First entirely black IMOCA 60 sailing yacht in the world made possible by functional pigments with heat-reflecting properties
  • Coating technology based on pigments of BASF
  • Great potential in the automotive sector

Alex Thomson Racing’s new racing yacht can be considered as the first entirely black IMOCA 60 yacht in the world. This was made possible by painting the deck with a special coating developed by BASF, which is based on the functional pigments made by the company. The yacht will compete in its first Ocean Masters World Championship Race, The Transat Jacques Vabre, in October this year.

Functional pigments with heat-reflecting properties

A deck structure that is entirely black is a novelty because heavy sun exposure tends to heat up the dark surfaces enormously. This can lead to a heat build-up in the cabins below deck, which would make living conditions onboard extremely uncomfortable and can even affect the structural integrity of the composite materials. Hence, it was decided to use the functional pigments made by BASF to formulate the coating. They ensure that surfaces that are painted in dark colors can remain significantly cooler on hot days as they reflect rather than absorb heat. The ship builders used the special pigments that are sold under the Paliogen brand, which are transparent for Near Infrared Light (NIR), as well as functional NIR-reflecting pigments from the Sicopal range.

Reflecting most of the sunlight

The pigments are an innovative solution for solar heat management: through their use, the dark surfaces of the deck reflect a large part of the sunlight that they are exposed to. The sun beams penetrate the base coat whilst the filler below reflects the sunlight and ensures that the temperatures on the coated surfaces as well as inside the boat are significantly lower than they would be if conventional black pigments had been used.

Great potential in the automotive sector

The paint, based on functional pigments, is not only suitable for yachts and ships, but also highly interesting to the automotive sector. Because the vehicle interior heats up considerably less, there is a lower requirement for cooling by the air conditioning system. This will have a particularly positive effect on fuel consumption in countries with high average temperatures, at the same time reducing vehicles’ CO2 emissions.

Main picture: Functional pigments made by BASF were used to formulate the coating. They ensure that surfaces that are painted in dark colors can remain significantly cooler on hot days as they reflect rather than absorb heat. Photo: Mark Lloyd



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