Why you want to buy Vantablack
Since Vantablack burst onto the scene in 2014, not only has it been the new black, but it has been the only black. Blacker than black, Vantablack absorbs 99.96% of visible light; an object coated in the substance loses all definition and appears two-dimensional, like a black void. Although originally developed for reducing the effect of stray light in space-borne instrumentation, the possibilities for this coolest of coatings were endless. Everyone wanted to buy Vantablack.
Unfortunately for everyone, Vantablack is a delicate coating which is grown in a vacuum chamber, and this severely restricted its applications. However, the scientists at Surrey NanoSystems where Vantablack was born were not done; soon they came out with Vantablack S-VIS (a spray-applied version), and now the family has grown further, with VBx1 and VBx2 as the latest members. But what does this mean for purchasing Vantablack?
The Anish Kapoor controversy and the new Vantablack
When Vantablack was initially released, Surrey NanoSystems gave the London-based sculptor Anish Kapoor exclusive artistic rights to the use of Vantablack. The reasoning was simple – the difficulties in creating the coating meant they could not widely collaborate, and Kapoor was known for his work with voids. However, this ruffled a few feathers in the artistic community, with Kapoor being accused of being that kid who takes all the red crayons from the box and refuses to share.
Happily for artists everywhere, the newly released VBx1 and VBx2 are not technically Vantablack – they are solvent based, pigmented coatings dispersed in a carrier solution, where Vantablack is a carbon nanotube coating. What this means is that they do not fall under Kapoor’s exclusivity agreement, and are available for artists and designers to use.
How to buy a Vantablack sample
Surrey NanoSystems, the producers of Vantablack, are also the only suppliers. Their lab is where Vantablack is applied (or grown), and so purchases go through them. If you wish to use Vantablack in your project, Surrey NanoSystems will need to approve the application and identify the optimal solution. They do also sell Vantablack samples, although these cannot be purchased by private citizens. If you work for a university, museum, research facility, or educational institution, and would like to purchase a sample, they come in 4 different formats:
- Aluminium coupon 40mm x 40mm x 3mm (coated on one face) for £300
- Aluminium foil 100mm x 100mm with a hexagonal Vantablack coated area on one side for £323
- OFHC Copper coupon 75mm x 25mm x 1mm for £300
- Educational ‘crinkled’ foil sample in an enclosed display case for £560
Buy Vantablack VBx1 and VBx2 for your next project
VBx1 and VBx2 are not like the other Vantablacks. Surrey NanoSystems designed them with the visual, artistic, architectural, and scientific applications in mind. they are not hazardous to human health and are far easier to apply. The two coatings differ slightly, and have different requirements:
- VBx1 – SNS applies VBx1 in its UK coating facility. The coating can only be applied to parts that fit within an envelop of 410mm x 410mm x 150mm. It can be used to coat all substrates that are vacuum compatible.
- VBx2 – This coating is supplied in 25L or 200L drums, to specialist paint contractors who have been through an SNS training programme. It is applied with a spray gun, ad can be applied to metals, plastics, glasses, wood, concrete, brick, plasterboard.
For the use of VBx in your next project, you will need to contact Surrey NanoSystems to assure the viability of the application.
Images courtesy of Surrey NanoSystems