BASF is the official partner of Alex Thomson Racing after providing functional pigments with heat-reflecting properties for the launch of what is claimed to be the first entirely black IMOCA 60 sailing yacht in the world.
This deck was painted with a coating developed by BASF, which is based on the functional Paliogen and Sicopal pigments. The yacht, skippered by leading British sailor Alex Thomson, competed in its first Ocean Masters World Championship Race this year.
Yachts that feature black sails or a black hull are not altogether new. A deck structure that is entirely black, however, is a novelty because heavy sun exposure tends to heat up the dark surfaces enormously. This can lead to a heat build-up in the cabins below deck, which would make living conditions onboard extremely uncomfortable and can even affect the structural integrity of the composite materials. So it was decided to use the functional pigments made by BASF to formulate the coating. They ensure surfaces that are painted in dark colours can remain significantly cooler on hot days as they reflect rather than absorb heat. The ship builders used the special pigments that are sold under the Paliogen brand, which are transparent for Near Infrared Light (NIR), as well as functional NIR-reflecting pigments from the Sicopal range.
Arno Tuchbreiter, head of pigment marketing for Industrial Coatings at BASF, says: “The black coating of the deck has been made possible by the development of this coating technology based on functional pigments. Otherwise, the radiation of the sun would lead to an unbearable build-up of heat in the windowless cabin and the interior of the boat. The deck also would become too hot and people would struggle to walk on it barefooted without getting burned.”
The paint, based on functional pigments, is not only suitable for yachts and ships, but also highly interesting to the automotive sector. Martin Bremer, head of Colour and Trim Mercedes-Benz Design, says: “Mercedes-Benz has been involved in the development process at BASF from the very start, and we have conducted extensive testing of this paint on our vehicles. Our intention is to use it on various models over the next few years. Because the vehicle interior heats up considerably less, there is a lower requirement for cooling by the air conditioning system. This will have a particularly positive effect on fuel consumption in countries with high average temperatures, at the same time reducing vehicles' CO2 emissions.”
BASF's Coatings division develops, produces and markets innovative automotive coatings, automotive refinishes and industrial coatings as well as decorative paints. It operates sites in Europe, North America and South America as well as Asia Pacific in 2014, the Coatings division achieved global sales of about €3bn (£2.1bn).