The World's Blackest Paint?

A little bit of BLACK history - Anish Kapoor vs Stuart Semple

In 2016, an Indian-born British artist named Anish Kapoor was given exclusive rights to use Vantablack, the darkest material in the world with an absorption rate of 99.96%. This sparked a furious reaction from fellow artists; some stated that they had never heard of an artist monopolizing a material, while others stated that this was downright immoral. One British artist in particular, Stuart Semple, retaliated by eventually developing his own "blackest black" that was made available for everyone to use - except for Anish Kapoor. Thus creating an ongoing public feud that The Independent has described as "one of the most spectacular displays of pettiness . . . these are two grown men fighting over who gets to use the pretty colours." 



Third Time's the Charm? - Black 3.0

As the name suggests, this is Stuart Semple's third effort to develop the blackest black paint. Black 3.0's predecessor, "Black 2.0" was released back in March of 2017, after first releasing "Better Black" pigment a month earlier.  

 Funding for Black 3.0 began in January 2019, on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, promoting it as the "World's Blackest Black".  with Semple claiming that his new paint has a visible light absorption rate of 99%. In just three and a half months, the campaign collected around $634,000.  A monumental success, as this was 2000% more than their project's goal. Many people were excited to get their hands on a bottle and try it out themselves. Us included.



The Newest Kid on the Block: Musou Black Paint!

Then, around 1 year later in 2020, on the other side of the world in Japan, a new black paint was born. Inspired by Semple's achievement of developing an extremely black paint that was commercially available, we developed Black 3.0's better and blacker successor: Musou Black Paint. Musou Black Paint is a water-based acrylic paint with a class leading light absorption rate of 99.4%! This  was  achieved after hundreds of hours of R&D to develop a proprietary mix of pigments and binders as well as to find the ideal application method. That when combined, give Musou Black Paint its extraordinary light absorbing performance of 99.4%!



Black vs Black? -  Comparison of Black 3.0 and Musou Black Paint

As you can see in the adjacent photo, Black 3.0 is no longer the "World's Blackest Black" paint. After independent testing, we found that Black 3.0's actual light absorption rate is actually around 97.5%.

Although Black 3.0's and Musou Black Paint's absorption rates are relatively close (Black 3.0 = 97.5%, Musou Black Paint = 99.4%), the 1.9% difference between the two paints makes a huge difference, as you can see in the photo. 

An alternative way to explain the difference in blackness is that Black 3.0 reflects 2.5% of light, while Musou Black Paint reflects only 0.6% of light. This means that Musou Black Paint is more than 4x blacker than Black 3.0!



What About Vantablack and Vantablack VBx2?

Well, what about Vantablack then? Isn't that the blackest thing the world? And yes, you are correct. Vantablack is the world's blackest MATERIAL, it is not a paint. Vantablack is a material made out of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) that are thermally bonded to an objects surface using extreme heat. This complex method is what allows Vantablack to achieve its astonishing 99.96% absorption rate.

With that being said, Surrey Nanosystems (the developer of Vantablack) has developed a "paint" version of Vantablack called "Vantablack VBx2." This is what they used in their collaboration with BMW at the 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show. According to Surrey Nanosystem's catalog, the light absorption rate of VBx2 is 99%. 

This means that Musou Black Paint with its 99.4% absorption rate is almost 2x blacker than Vantablack VBx2!



The Title of The World's Blackest Paint Goes To... *Drum Roll...........

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