February 19, 2020| Design

Into the dark with Vantablack

"Discover the darkest materials of our planet"

Originally, Vantablack has been developed by Surrey NanoSystems to eliminate stray light in satellites and telescopes and was unveiled in 2014.

What exactly is Vantablack? (I better quote this part!)

Vantablack is not a black paint, pigment or fabric, but is instead a functionalised ‘forest’ of millions upon millions of incredibly small tubes made of carbon, or carbon nanotubes. Each nanotube in the vantablack forest has a diameter of around 20 nanometres (that’s about 3,500 times smaller than the diameter of the average human hair), and are typically from around 14 microns to 50 microns long. A surface area of 1 cm2 would contain around 1,000 million nanotubes.

What can it do in general?
It absorbs 99.96% of the radiation in the visible spectrum and even beyond, including UV and IR. In addition, it is also hydrophobic and high thermal shock resistant.


What does it feel like?
From its look you might think it has some sort of a warm velvet feel. According to Steve Northam, Director of Business Development, it actually just feels like a smooth surface.


Vantablack vs. S-VIS vs. VBx1/2
Vantablack is not a pigment or a paint, but has ever since developed to be a more flexible coating. Vantablack S-VIS can be spray painted and does not need to be grown in a vacuum chamber. The Vantablack VBx1 and VBx 2 coatings in the visible spectrum are solvent based, pigmented coatings dispersed in a carrier solution.

Since its introduction to the world it has also found applications in automotive sensing, optical systems, art and aesthetics.

To present an example, in partnership with BMW and for the launch of the new BMW X6 the world’s first darkest car has seen the light of day (*no pun intended). The material has been completely covered in Vantablack and makes all shapes disappear, which basically means the only thing left you see are the parts not covered in Vantablack VBx2 such as headlamps, fog lamps, kidney grille, windows, and wheels.

Did you know that there actually is an even darker ‘blackest black’ than Vantablack?!

The “blackest black” material to date actually captures 99,995% of incoming light.
Watch the video below to find out more.