If you’re interested in art, fashion, or both, you may have heard of Vantablack. Vantablack is a type of black material that absorbs 99.96% of visible light.
It is manufactured on the same principle as a vacuum, which absorbs all the air around it. This makes it perfect for creating dark backgrounds or even hiding objects behind it, and it is known as the darkest material in existence.
The name Vantablack comes from an acronym, the full version of which is Vertically Aligned NanoTube Arrays Black.
The creators used this to come up with a unique name that not only described how it was made, but also sounded appealing to potential users of the color.
The potential applications of this awesome material are far-reaching, and the mysterious name reflects its blackest black properties.
Vantablack was created by Surrey NanoSystems Ltd., a British company that specializes in developing nanotechnology materials.
They started working on the project in 2013 and released their first version in 2015. An artist called Anish Kapoor bought the exclusive rights to Vantablack in 2014, which meant that nobody else would be able to use the new color.
So what does that mean for other artists and fashion companies? It makes sense that people would want to have access to the newest cutting edge technologies.
There is high demand for Vantablack from customers, but it is difficult for that to be met while only one person can use it.
Here, we will let you know if you can buy Vantablack clothing and experience the blackest material for yourself.
How Is Vantablack Made?
If you want to discover the secrets of Vantablack, you must first understand that it’s technically neither a color nor a fabric.
What it actually is is a black coating that you can put onto existing fabrics, giving them the deep black color that is highly desired.
There is a lot of science that goes into the production of Vantablack, as it’s structurally very complex. If you want to know more details.
The way it works is by using a special technology called pyrolysis. Once applied, the particles within the coating absorb light at every wavelength between 400 nm and 700 nm.
When light hits these nanoparticles, they get hot enough to emit electrons. The electrons then move through the surrounding molecules, and cause them to vibrate.
The atoms and molecules do not stop moving until they reach thermal equilibrium. At this point, they emit infrared radiation instead of visible light.
As long as there are still nanoparticles left, the process can continue. However, once all the nanoparticles have been emitted as heat, it stops absorbing energy.
It is similar to when you look up at the sky – it appears black because there isn’t any light bouncing back off of anything.
The absorption rate is so high that there is only a tiny percent of light that actually gets through to your eyes.
What happens next depends heavily on the size of the carbon nanotubes that were used to make Vantablack. The original version contained 10-nanometer tubes.
The diameter of each tube was so small that 1 billion of them fit inside the width of a human hair. Due to the size of the tubes, the coating resembles a very fine mesh.
This means that it can cover large areas without creating many seams or gaps. Another benefit is that the thinness of the coating allows it to be treated like a liquid rather than a solid.
Current Vantablack Uses
The main use for Vantablack at the minute is in artwork. Since it’s possible to treat Vantablack like a liquid, artists have experimented with different ways of applying the coating onto their pieces.
For example, one artist was able to paint directly on his canvas using Vantablack as a base layer. Then he traced over an image of an African woman with her head covered.
Finally, he painted over the lines with two layers of white acrylic paint. Using this technique, he created a painting that looked almost identical to the real thing.
Other possible uses of Vantablack include military uniforms and space suits where the extreme darkness could reduce visibility.
Black spacesuits are already being developed, but Vantablack coating would offer even more protection than what currently exists.
In addition, it could possibly protect against solar flares and other types of dangerous radiation.
There has also been speculation that Vantablack might be useful in the medical field to help doctors find tumors and cancerous tissue quickly during surgery.
A surgeon would need to use a laser to illuminate the area, which would reveal the edges of the tumor much better than existing methods.
The black coating would prevent the reflected light from hitting the rest of the body, making it easier for surgeons to see exactly where the problem lies.
Vantablack In Fashion
Vantablack has received a lot of attention since its release, and the fashion industry has taken a particular shine to it.
However, due to several reasons, it’s not actually commercially available as a clothing option at the current time.
Will we ever see clothing made from the darkest color available, or will it stay as merely a dream in the minds of designers everywhere?
The first reason preventing its public release is the exclusive rights held by Surrey Nanosystems and Anish Kapoor.
Vantablack has been nicknamed the Color of Exclusivity, because there is an active block in place that prevents anyone else from using it.
Many people have criticized Kapoor for this approach, calling it selfish because he is withholding technological advances from the general public.
Another reason is the fact that Vantablack itself wouldn’t be a practical material for everyday clothing. While it is a strong fabric due to the extensive heat treatment processes the carbon undergoes in its production, the fibers can be damaged by human skin.
This causes wrinkles and fraying over time, which is something no one wants to wear if they’re seeking usable clothes.
Alternatives To Vantablack
Fortunately, all is not lost for the clothing industry in terms of the darkest color imaginable. There are currently some great options out there that are almost as dark or even darker than Vantablack.
Best of all, they are mostly widely available and don’t have the same restrictions as Vantablack itself. These include:
Black Diamond Coatings
These coatings use a different form of carbon nanotube technology known as CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition).
In this process, an array of vertically aligned Carbon Nanotubes is formed by heating a mixture of gasses such as argon and methane.
The result is a coating that looks much more like paint than traditional textile materials.
Unfortunately, these coatings aren’t nearly as good as Vantablack. They contain a larger amount of air bubbles, which give the final product a less uniform appearance.
Additionally, while they absorb about 99% of visible light, they do not absorb infrared radiation equally.
This means that depending on how far away they are from the source, their performance can vary significantly.
Finally, Black Diamond coatings do not offer the same level of heat resistance that Vantablack does. However, black diamond coatings are still an option when it comes to fashion clothing.
MIT developed this technology so that the coating could hide even a diamond that was coated in it, which was impressive because diamonds have a naturally high reflectivity of light.
It is currently available to artists for noncommercial purposes, because of the values MIT stands for – namely sharing knowledge – but it may well appear in the clothing market in future.
Thermal Black Paint
This is another type of coating based on the form of carbon fiber technology called pyrolysis. It was originally created just for art pieces and sculptures, but recently researchers have begun applying it to fabrics as well.
The end result is a highly reflective surface with a deep black finish. Unfortunately, this coating is only able to turn white into black again, so you’ll always be left with a slightly lighter shade of black after applying it.
Thermal Black Paint is also one of the few alternatives that doesn’t require a specialized machine to apply it. However, it does come at a higher price tag. Some reports estimate that it costs around $7 per square meter.
Considering that Vantablack is priced over $1000 per square foot, it’s probably safe to say that this is more expensive than Vantablack, although many would argue that the additional cost is worth getting a truly unique product.
If your goal is to get the most fashionable dark suit possible, then thermal black paint should definitely be considered a strong choice. It is also probably the blackest paint on offer, seeing as Vantablack itself isn’t a paint.
Thermal Black Paint is the closest to being viable for use in fashion clothing, so watch this space – the darkest clothing in the shops is about to get a whole lot darker!
This is yet another new form of carbon nanotubes that has been tested successfully on fabric.
Unlike the other two methods, this involves creating plasma at extremely high temperatures using radio waves.
While the resulting coating is not as dark as Vantablack, it does look very similar and offers the advantage of being able to be applied through standard industrial processes.
Unfortunately, the downside to this method is its extreme expense. Although no one knows exactly how much it will set consumers back, estimates range between $10,000 and $15,000 per square inch.
This makes it considerably cheaper than either Black Diamond or Vantablack, but unless you’re willing to spend thousands of dollars on a single coat, it might not be worth the investment.
We simply cannot discuss Vantablack without mentioning its biggest rival in the art world: Black 2.0. This was created by British artist Stuart Semple in response to Surrey Nanosystems and their decision to make Vantablack an exclusive product.
In 2014, Semple decided to create his own version of black, which he named “Black 2.0.” He did this by taking a piece of ordinary cotton cloth and putting it through a process that involved spraying it with a mixture containing titanium dioxide particles.
In addition to being cheaper than Vantablack (only £5), this is also a simple process that can be performed by anyone who owns a spray gun.
As long as they can do the job properly, they can produce their own personalized shades of black. The problem here is that while the finished product looks very similar, it does have a slight yellow tinge.
This means that it won’t work as well when used as a base layer beneath some clothes, because the difference in color could easily show up.
An added benefit of Black 2.0 is that you would be taking a stand against exclusive rights in art and technology.
Since Vantablack is only available to Anish Kapoor, Semple has made Black 2.0 available to anyone except Anish Kapoor.
This means that you have to confirm that you are not Anish Kapoor or affiliated with him in any way when you buy the product (as with all similar products created by Stuart Semple).
Black 3.0 is an updated version of Black 2.0, although both are simultaneously available to buy from Semple’s website.
Like Black 2.0, Black 3.0 contains titanium dioxide powder, so it is actually just a slightly different shade of the same color. However, unlike Black 2.0, this new version uses a white background.
This allows customers to see where they’ve placed their paint, making it easier for them to ensure that they’ve covered every last millimeter of the material.
The major drawback of this is that there aren’t many materials out there that can withstand such a high temperature, meaning that anything that isn’t heat-resistant can burn away.
If you want to use Black 3.0 to protect your car, then you need to be careful about what kind of paintwork you put underneath it.
In conclusion, while Vantablack is one of the most remarkable technologies we’ve ever seen, the exclusivity makes it a big problem when other people want to use it for achieving truly black clothing.
Unfortunately, Vantablack coating will probably never be used as a clothing staple, since the only type of clothing that it may be suitable for is very specialized.
This is largely because Vantablack is very exclusive to Kapoor.
There are other options available to give you that darkest fabric feel. These not only have a darker color than regular black clothing, but they are also available for anyone to purchase – some with a much higher price tag than others.
Black 2.0 and Black 3.0 by Stuart Semple were designed specifically for Vantablack fans to be able to enjoy the darkest material on both 2D and 3D objects.
Therefore, buy them to support the notion that art is for everyone, not just the privileged few.