OSU’s historic ‘blue’ approved for commercial use


EPA-approved usage includes paint for artists

The blue pigment discovered by an OSU chemist (Mas Subramanian / OSU)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Environmental Protective Agency has approved commercial use of the vibrant blue pigment discovered by an Oregon State University chemist.

The approval comes as welcome news for painters around the globe who have been coveting the unique shade for years.

YInMn, the new blue–commercially referred to as Blue10G513–was first discovered in 2009 by Professor Mas Subramanian in Corvallis.

YInMn crystal structure (OSU)

Subramanian’s team had mixed manganese oxide with various other chemicals and heated the mixtures in a furnace to nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. One of their samples turned out to be a brilliant blue, thus was named YInMn blue after the component elements yttrium, indium and manganese. The pigment represented a huge advance in non-toxicity and stability as well as vividness.

The discovery also marked the first new inorganic blue in more than two centuries. Before YInMn blue, the last blue discovery was cobalt aluminum oxide-based blue, synthesized by a French chemist in 1802.

In 2017, OSU licensed the color to the Shepard Color Company who tested commercial waters with a low-volume rollout for industrial coatings and plastics. During the same year, Crayola was inspired to use the color for a new crayon Bluetiful.

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