Black 2.0 – optically neutral matt black paint

I recently found myself needing a black paint for a project I was working on that would be a) very absorbent of light, b ) as neutral as possible over a wide range of wavelengths, and c) be cheap and readily available. A chance conversation with a colleague put me on to Black 2.0, which is a paint developed by a UK artist Stuart Semple (http://stuartsemple….k-art-material/). This is supposedly extremely matt black, and there’s a fascinating story behind the development of it, which is highly typical of the art world and makes for a great read (put simply, it was developed to provide the wider art world a really black paint, after a UK company developed something called Vantablack which absorbs more than 99% of light, and then restricted who could buy it to scientists and one artist in the UK).

Anyway enough of the back story – just how black is Black 2.0? Given I have access to a nice UV Vis spectrometer I got hold of a sample of this material, painted it onto some white card, and compared the amount of light it reflected to a the black tile on a X-rite/Gretag Macbeth Colour Checker chart (old version, pre November 2014). And this is what it looks like;
Attached Image: Full range blacks only.jpg

I was very surprised to see Black 2.0 reflected less light than the X-rite/Gretag Macbeth Colour checker chart black (GM black in the graph).  So it’s blacker than a black photographic standard – the proverbial black cat in a coal cellar.  Needless to say I was very impressed with it, as it fitted my key requirements (neutral, low reflectivity, cheap and readily available), oh and smells of cherries too. All for the princely sum of £12 for 150ml, which they reckon is enough to cover about 1-1.5m2.

Check out this paint and Stuarts work at http://stuartsemple.com/art/

 

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