Imagine a beautiful parrot spreading its wings to take flight. Now imagine if colors like that could exist on your walls! Coming up, we may have fade-proof paint based off of discoveries scientists recently made on why birds’ feathers retain their vibrance. How cool is that?
Have you ever wondered why birds’ feathers don’t go grey like the hair of humans, dogs, or cats? A team of curious scientists at Sheffield University did, so they studied the white and blue feathers on a jay and found that they use well-controlled changes to the nanostructure of their feathers to create vivid colors. They can even create patterns with multiple colors along one feather barb! Their feathers are actually made of the same keratin material human fingernails and hair are made from, but are different. The way in which they form and control the evolution of the nanostructure, by changing the density and size of the holes in the sponge-like structure, determines what color is reflected. We assume, they probably do this as a way to recognize each other.
Basically, from this revelation we foresee making long-lasting colored coatings and materials synthetically for paint and even clothes. We use dyes and pigments now because present technology cannot make color with this level of control and precision. However, since we have learned how nature accomplishes it, we can start to develop new materials using these nanostructuring approaches. It would potentially mean that if we created an article of clothing using this method, it would retain its color and never fade in the wash, or that a painted wall would only require repainting for chips, and not a color boost.
Adam Washington, of Sheffield University, explains how the research answers the long-standing dilemma of why non-iridescent structural green colours are rare in nature: “This is because to create the color green, a very complex and narrow wavelength is needed, something that is hard to produce by manipulating these tuneable spongy structures. As a result, nature’s way to get around this and create the color green – an obvious camouflage colour – is to mix the structural blue like that of the jay with a yellow pigment that absorbs some of the blue color.”
The feathers used in this study are from a large collection at the Natural History Museum in London and the work was published in Nature Publishing Group’s Scientific Reports.
We here at Pro Painters, your Houston painting company, look forward to this advancement transpiring in the future, and would love the opportunity to use fade proof paint for our Houston painting services. In the meantime, we’ll continue to use the highest quality paint available to us and happily assist in repainting the walls of your house or business when they start to fade and need some upkeep.