Thursday, December 14, 2017

Chemists Accidentally Discover A 'Near-Perfect' Color

Sometimes the best inventions happen by accident. A team of scientists can work on a new way to make life easier for months and get nowhere. As the options start to run out, frustration builds up as they keep hitting that same wall no matter what they try. Finally, one of them can't take it anymore and makes a careless gesture.

In the movies, this little move somehow pushes the right part in place and their device finally works. While that's not impossible, some scientists have found their frustrations leading them to discover something they weren't looking for. Without these kinds of happy accidents, we wouldn't have the microwave oven, the pacemaker, or even the slinky today.

Yet chemists at Oregon State University received an even greater surprise when they accidentally discovered a whole new color.

Please COMMENT and tell us what accidents turned out well for you.

The team had set out to make new materials to use in electronics.

So they threw certain chemicals together to see how they responded to electricity.

One of these chemical recipes involved some manganese oxide.

Depending on which version of this compound you use, it can either conduct electricity well or badly. Without knowing exactly what they planned to use it for, it's hard to tell which result the team wanted.

The other parts of the mixture were Yttrium and Indium.

Yttrium has all sorts of electronic uses, including possibly making MRI scanners more efficient. Indium is also very responsive to electricity under the right conditions so this combination probably seemed perfect for what the OSU chemists were going for.

Once they had them all together, they heated the mixture up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

That's what made the magic happen, even though the scientists never expected it.

The mixture turned into a whole new shade of blue!

The team would later call this pigment YInMn blue in honor of the elements that came together to make it.

When they tested it, the new blue turned out to be surprisingly sturdy.

They introduced it to water and oil and neither made the color fade at all.

They're so excited about the results that they're calling YInMn blue a near-perfect blue pigment.

Apparently, we've been trying to find one since the time of the ancient Egyptians, but what's so great about it?

Aside from its strength, the color seems to be the safest blue pigment yet.

Others, like Cobalt blue, are toxic in large amounts, which can make working with them dangerous over time.

More than that, YInMn blue could be energy efficient.

Because of its ability to reflect a lot of infrared light, the team suggests you can make a building cooler if you paint the roof with the new color.

And OSU is making the most of the team's success.

They've received interest from artists and art restorers and signed a licensing agreement with the Shepherd Color Company, who will now use YInMn blue in a range of paints and plastics.

Now the team of chemists is back in the lab with a new idea.

They're going to intentionally make mistakes and see what other happy accidents they can come up with.

Please COMMENT and let us know what you discovered by accident.


Author: verified_user