AkzoNobel paint research associate Phil Taylor said that in paint, colour and white were achieved through mostly man-made pigments. However, in nature, colours were achieved entirely differently through structures such as petals or feathers that generated effects.
For Dulux colour is vital. In the plant kingdom colour is also key, so the garden is a great opportunity for us to showcase the importance of colour.
If you walk along a river and see a kingfisher fly past, there is something about the blue that is alive. It has a depth to it, something vivid to it. We can get close to it, but there is something more special about the colours around us.
If we can harness that, could we offer a greater colour range, something more exciting and lifelike? The Natural History Museum has helped us identify which plants and animals have interesting whites and blues. The University of Sheffield have analysed the structures in those species that nature has evolved to give you the white and the blues.
The next challenge is, can the scientists make those structures in the test tube? Can you mimic in the test tube what nature has done? That’s what they are doing at the moment.
Researchers will look at mimicking nature in paint
If successful, researchers will then have to demonstrate that it is possible to mimic these structures in paint and maintain the effect. The final challenge is whether that process could be scaled up to industrial-scale production.
It is a long-term project, but the basic science will be publicly available so it could also be used by organisations working with colour in other areas.