Published on May 8th, 2015 | By: April Gocha, PhD0
Strontium aluminate keeps Nissan Leaf’s glow-in-the-dark paint shining bright after the sun setsPublished on May 8th, 2015 | By: April Gocha, PhD
[Image above] Credit: Nissan
Credit: NissanUK; Youtube
Nissan is literally glowing with pride for its all-electric vehicle, the Leaf.
The vehicle maker’s European arm is the first manufacturer to apply glow-in-the-dark paint to a vehicle (several aftermarket options already exist). Nissan also was the manufacturer that rolled out a prototype of a self-cleaning paint job last year.
The new glow-in-the-dark paint, developed by inventor Hamish Scott, is similar to other glow-in-the-dark coatings, paints, and additives in that in exploits the abilities of phosphors or phorsphor-like materials to absorb UV energy and emit it as light.
But this particular paint is unique in that it’s made of “entirely organic materials.” The paint contains chemically and biologically inert strontium aluminate—which can act as a photoluminescent phosphor when doped—according to a Nissan press release.
Inventor Scott also created Starpath, a sprayed-on sidewalk coating that collects light during the day and illuminates at night, eliminating the need for streetlights or other auxiliary lighting—reminiscent of Studio Roosegaarde’s glowing Van Gogh path. Starpath’s coating can shine for a reported 8–10 hours after the sun clocks out.
Nissan’s vehicle paint is pretty robust, likely thanks to the high hardness of strontium aluminate—although I doubt it can stand up to 40 sandpaper swipes—as the release says that it can last for 25 years.
Although the idea is bright, unfortunately it’s currently little more than a publicity stunt to garner attention for Nissan’s eco-friendly Leaf.
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