Sometimes the best things that happen in this world are accidents. That is what recently happened to Professor Mas Subramanium with the Department of Chemistry at Oregon State University. The bright blue color was stumbled upon during his team’s testing of new materials for electronic applications. Although this was back in 2009, the color is now being created to sell commercially. The color, named YlnMn, is created by taking the elements yttrium, indium, and manganese and heating them to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is where it gets its name.
It is important to note that we cannot technically discover or create a new color. This is due to all color having a place in the white light spectrum. Still that does not mean that we have been able to create, or pigment, that color for our use. To create color you need to find the right ingredients to create the pigmentation, and historically it has been hard to create different shades of blue pigmentation. Which is why this is the first time this color has been pigmented, giving us the ability to use it in our everyday lives.
This pigmentation gets vivid blue color due to its strong reflection of blue light, and blue light only. Normally items absorb and reflect a variety of colors off the spectrum which is why we have so many different shades. In this case, the pigment absorbs green and blue but only reflects blue. Besides its looks, YInMn has what seems like unending positive traits. For example, low toxicity and high durability. It performs high durability in both water and oil and it is resistant to acids and fading. It also “reflects about 40% of long wavelength infrared light, resulting in a warming effect” (Kundu, Forbes). Or, in English, you could use it to cool your house by putting this color on your roofs and walls, easily saving energy. All of these factors make this color pigment an easy sell and why it is now being sold for paints, coatings, and plastics.
While it will be interesting to see it be used in both roofing and painting, it will also be intriguing to watch it in the fashion industry. Even though they have not gotten that far with it yet. YlnMn is an exquisite color and there may be a possibility that the properties of the pigment could be transferred into the material of the clothing. Even if it isn’t possible, the properties of the color will still help with other important factors. With this pigment the vibrancy of the blue wouldn’t fade away. This would be excellent due to the annoyance of the color fading in your favorite article of clothing. Plus, with its exceptionally high resiliency it could, again,protect the color and keep it looking new longer also hopefully transferring the positives to the fabric itself.
With these reasons it makes sense for the pigment to join the fashion industry, especially in activewear with the cooling effect that it could cause. While I don’t claim to be a scientist or an expert in how the technical advances in activewear fabrics work, I can see how this new pigment could have the potential to make a big impact. So, let’s keep an eye on YInMn. In a couple years it could be the next big thing in the industry.