ACS Green Chemistry Institute®

A Hot Topic is Cool Pigments

Blog Post created by ACS Green Chemistry Institute® on Aug 18, 2015

Contributed by Mark Ryan, Marketing Manager, Shepherd Color Co.


Shepherd Color specializes in CICP (Complex Inorganic Color Pigments) that provide durable color in the most demanding applications where heat, chemicals, UV and weathering conditions make other pigments fail. These highly inert pigments also have a wide range of regulatory approvals for the most sensitive applications.


mixed colors.jpgA hot topic is cool pigments. Standard dark pigments absorb most of the sun’s energy. Since the sun’s energy can be roughly divided in half between the visible and the invisible n-IR, Shepherd Color’s Arctic® line of pigments help keep substrates cooler by reflecting the n-IR energy and selectively absorbing the sun’s visible energy for aesthetically pleasing colors. Shepherd Color’s experience with these applications has led to a ‘black rainbow’ of optimized IR-reflective black pigments with tailored properties for specific applications. For plastics applications Arctic® Black 10P923 is optimized for a jet masstone, Arctic® Black 10P922 is a balance of masstone color and tint strength in a blue-shade IR-black, Arctic® Black 10P950 provides the maximum tint strength in an IR-Black, while Arctic® Brown 10P895 is warmer in tone for natural looking building products. For coatings applications our Arctic®  Black 30C941 has IR reflectivity and our Dynamix easily dispersed feature. This rapid incorporation of the Arctic IR reflectivity feature into new coatings products such as cool roofing found in EPA Energy Star program, USGBC LEED and other building codes and standards. Reducing the solar energy absorbed by a roof reduces the heat that a building’s HVAC system has to deal with. This reduces energy usage- especially peak energy demand- and carbon dioxide release from power generation. A cooler roof also transfers less energy to the air around a building which reduces the urban heat island effect.


All of these products have better performance in n-IR reflectance based on Shepherd Color’s 30+ years’ experience in developing this pigment technology and have the inherent stability that provides long-term durability.


yellow and orange.jpgShepherd Color continues to bring innovation to the market and expand the durable color envelope in the critical yellow color space with the two pigment chemistries of NTP Yellow (Niobium Tin Pyrochlore) and the RTZ Orange (Rutile Tin Orange). The Shepherd Color’s NTP Yellow 10P150 product is a high-performance alternative in plastics to lead chromate yellow in the middle-yellow color space. It has the highest heat stability for use with engineering polymers where even pigments like bismuth vanadate yellow struggle. The RTZ Orange 10P340 combines the highest redness value and durability of any pigment in its class on the market.  In coatings, the NTP Yellow 30C152 provides opacity and durability not found in any other pigment. No longer is there a compromise between the chromaticity of organic yellow pigments and the lower chromatic but durable inorganic pigments.


RTZ Orange is a high-durability and heat-stable true orange-shade pigment that provides a way to add redness to colors based on other yellows like bismuth vanadate and NTP Yellow, all without the loss in chromaticity found with other inorganic pigment blends.  Together, the NTP Yellow and RTZ Orange allow high-durability and all inorganic pigmentation options for colors like Signal Yellow RAL 1003. The NTP Yellow is a brand new patented chemistry and the most impactful new high-performance pigment since DPP red was introduced.


A hallmark of the CICPs is their inherent stability in a wide range of solvents and chemicals, including acids and bases. Because of this inertness they have a wide range of approvals around the world for use in sensitive applications like food packaging.




“The Nexus Blog” is a sister publication of “The Nexus” newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter, please email, or if you have an ACS ID, login to your email preferences and select “The Nexus” to subscribe.


To read other posts, go to Green Chemistry: The Nexus Blog home.