The days of black as ebony are long gone, now there is a new king of black, Vantablack, which may introduce a new saying that Snow White’s hair is as black as Vantablack. This new material is created by a British company called Surrey Nanosystems. It is so strange and alien that its mere appearance confuses the human eye. Despite its hyped popularity, there is much confusion about Vantablack that many people are not aware of. Here are some of the important things that you need to know about Vantablack.
1. Vantablack is Technically Not a Color.
Yes. This may sound weird but we know that the result of the way light is reflected off of an object and into our eyes helps us define colors. That’s why Vantablack is not a color but a material as it is made of a forest of tiny, hollow carbon tubes, each with the length of a single atom. So when light enters, due to the high density of the tubes, the light is absorbed and can’t escape.
2. It’s Not Directly Available in the Market.
Vantablack is not a pigment or paint that you can just buy off the market and start applying on your wall. It is made through a highly complicated and sophisticated process which includes the nanotubes being grown at Surrey NanoSystems lab. From the start to the finish, applying Vantablack to any object may take up to two days. If you compare ounce to ounce than Vantablack is more expensive than both diamond and gold.
3. Don’t expect it to feel like warm velvet.
Many people that see that material for the first time, they always want to touch it and they mostly expect it to feel like a warm velvet, which is not true. According to Surrey NanoSystems’ Northam, “Imagine you have a field of wheat, and instead of the wheat being 3 or 4 feet high, it’s about 1000 feet tall. That is the equivalent scale that we’re talking about for nanotubes. The reason they work is they’re very, very long compared to their diameter. It will stay upright and not blow away in the wind, but if you then try and land a plane on it, you’ll make a dent.”
4. Vantablack is Massless.
Even though the material is sensitive to touch, it’s super robust against other forces such as vibration and shock. This is due to the fact that each of carbon nanotube is individual and has no mass at all. Most of the material is plain air. This makes Vantablack an ideal option for protected objects that may endure a bumpy ride, such as a space launch.
5. It’s Used to Calibrate Telescopes for Now.
Vantablack reflects merely 0.035% of light, which is the closest to a black hole on Earth. With this feature, Astronomers can point extremely light-sensitive cameras to it to calibrate them. This helps them get clearer photos of some of the oldest things in the universe.
6. There is Vantablack Luxury Watch Available for $95,000
Yes, you read it right. There is a Swiss watchmaker Manufacture Contemporaine Du Temps (MCT) that will debut a $95,000 Vantablack luxury watch in a limited edition this fall. The watch case measures 45 mm x 45 mm x 15.5 mm thick and is made out of titanium with black DLC coating. The markings are hand-painted but with no lume. Vantablack is used on the dial and some parts of the movements.
7. Vantablack is available as a Spray-on Coat too
The new version of the material, Vantablack S-VIS is almost as good as the first one as it traps 99.8% of ultraviolet, visible and infrared light. It is also much easier to apply than the original one and can be used to coat larger and more complex objects that are composed of a wider variety of materials. CTO Ben Jensen said, “The new sprayable version really does open up the possibility of applying super-black coatings in many more types of airborne or terrestrial applications.” This said, clients can have Vantablack S-VIS from Surrey NanoSystems or they can license the technology for their own production but it is not available in the market.