Tuesday, March 1, 2016

New Blue Pigment Discovered

A new non-toxic, inorganic blue pigment has been discovered by accident by chemists in Oregon. They were experimenting with electronics materials that they mixed with manganese oxide and heated them to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, when a batch suddenly turned a brilliant blue. 
"The new pigment is formed by a unique crystal structure that allows the manganese ions to absorb red and green wavelengths of light, while only reflecting blue. The vibrant blue is so durable, and its compounds are so stable – even in oil and water – that the color does not fade. These characteristics make the new pigment versatile for a variety of commercial products."
EDIT: Howard Lyon wrote to The Shepherd Color Company asking about the availability of the pigment to artists and received this reply: 

"Shepherd Color is excited about partnering with Oregon State University chemist Mas Subramanian and his team to bring a new blue pigment to the market place. This new blue pigment, based on the rare-earth elements yttrium, indium along with manganese produces a brilliant blue color- but its beauty extends past the visible spectrum into the near infrared spectrum. The new blue allows darker shades to be formulated that stay cooler than standard blue. These dark blue colors specifically have been difficult to make for building products that have stringent building code and standards requirements. This high-value and differentiated pigment chemistry is completing its production scale-up. In anticipation of launching the product, we are building stock for launch of the product in April 2016."

Read the rest


The Lyceum Hall said...

Okay paint makers, lets get on this! I need to see where this falls on the color wheel; the anticipation is killing me! Will it be PB, or B, or someplace in-between?

Not Quite a Painting a Day said...

Hmm mm ... I wonder whether it will become available through our normal Artists' Colourmen? If not I'm not interested since the tried and true Colourmen know how to prepare their colours for Artists; of course I might be interested in some dry pigment to work up myself. I am also suspicious of new colours and the claims for permanence ... what were the tests used? We'll have to keep a weather eye out.

Krystal said...

I find that news very exciting, but I'll wait a bit to know more about that. Especially the result of the test for lightfastness and opacity. It seems close to ultramarine, on my screen but I know it may be slightly different in real.

Ezra said...

This is the news I've been waiting for! I've been on the hunt for a more intense blue. Sometimes I find myself in situations where none of blues do the job. Are there any artist's paint manufactures planning to use this?

James Gurney said...

Ezra and Steven, The announcement says: "OSU has reached an exclusive licensing agreement for the pigment, which is known as “YInMn” blue, with The Shepherd Color Company. It will be used in a wide range of coatings and plastics."

Lyceum, it's hard to know from the screen image where the color will land on the wheel and what its properties will be. We've got ultramarine and phthalo, which are both lightfast and great in both opaque and transparent mixtures. I'm not sure what this will add to the choices.

Gavin said...

Interesting stuff. I'm not sure I'd ever need a blue that intense, but it's great they can still find new pigments.
I'm waiting for Vantablack to be made into a paint, so I can paint the ultimate blackhole!

Not Quite a Painting a Day said...

Yeah, James, that's what I was thinking ... we do have Ultramarine & Palo ... and Cobalt, Cerulean and even Genuine Ultramarine (Lapis lazuli) for those of us who like to dabble from time to time with historical colours. Perhaps this new blue might have certain qualities of transparency, or opacity or some other quality that was different enough to merit its inclusion amongst our other blues. We might never know, if it's tied up in an exclusive deal.

Not Quite a Painting a Day said...

I typed Pthalo and I did not notice the auto correction changed it to Palo ... grrrr.

Unknown said...

They already "reached an exclusive licensing agreement for the pigment...With The Shepherd Color Company... it will be used in a wide range of coatings and plastic."

Well, they sure know how to knock the artistry and poetry out of discovering a new color don't they?

Once again, the only color that really matters is the green. Haha.

The Lyceum Hall said...


I agree, but I am optimistic that perhaps we will get a nice high chroma opaque purple-blue out of this. Plus, I like the idea of new materials and the idea of experimentation. What if we could eek out a couple extra steps of chroma in the b-pb hue brackets? While an argument may be made for how much chroma does the b-pb brackets really need, it's still fun to play.

Vantablack! Me too! Yes please..the description makes me wonder what the tinting strength of that pigment might be? Would white even stand a chance?

I too am interested to see how the exclusivity will affect this pigment's availability and now that I think of it, other pigments as well. I noticed that it is not yet on the distributors website or color charts, but it is probably way too early for that anyway.

Drew Baker said...

I asked Shepherd Color about it, and was told "... while it is a new chemistry, it really just gets you to the same color space as one of our existing cobalt blues. If cobalt blue is not an option for some reason, this does provide an alternative but color-wise, it's barely distinguishable."

They went on to offer ballpark bulk pricing per kilogram of pigment, and to sell me a sample of the pigment but since I'm not (yet) set up to grind my own paint -- and am content with cobalt blue -- I'll pass.

Howard Lyon said...

I messaged the Shepherd paint company and asked about buying a pound of the dry pigment. They might not deal with individuals, or sell in such small amounts, but I thought it worth a try. I will let you know what I hear from them.

Glenn Tait said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glenn Tait said...

Amish Kapoor an artist in Britian just acquired the exclusive rights to Vanta black, angering many artists.


Unknown said...

I would like to see more of this development and its properties, can it be used on practically any surface? and will the color change or fade out depending on the material mix?

Gavin said...

That's my blackhole dream destroyed then Glenn!
Only in today's world! Could you imagine pigments being patented back in the 16th or 17th century for example?

Roberto said...

Here are (somewhat) related link/articles:

On pantone’s new colors-


And Kline-Blue-


Thanx for the Journey –RQ

photo refence site said...

It looks like Ultramarine.