Lexus Develops The Stunning Structural Blue Paint Color

As a mixer manufacturer, Mixer Direct pays close attention to technical developments within the coatings and nanotechnology industries. Recently, the Lexus auto manufacturing company partnered with VIAVI Solutions, Inc. to develop a striking new paint color called "Structural Blue". The pigment displays iridescent qualities. It represents a significant breakthrough in the nanotechnology coatings field. Aspects of the creation of this remarkable proprietary coating will fascinate everyone interested in the industrial films industry.

A Distinctive New Paint Color


Structural Blue captures attention due to its vivid, brilliant presentation. The public can view this new color in the latest online marketing ads for the Lexus LC Coupe. The paint actually consists of a precisely manufactured pigmented coating applied at a thickness of 15 micrometers over a primer. The automaker then covers this material with a protective clear coat. Lexus recently issued a press release reporting that its Structural Blue color represents a radical departure from most widely used paint pigments. Blue auto paints will typically selectively reflect light waves as a blue color. Incredibly, the carefully engineered Structural Blue reportedly reflects a significantly higher proportion of blue, contributing to its eye-catching properties.

Where did the automaker obtain inspiration for this specific shade? Lexus revealed the lovely Morpho Butterfly served as the model for Structural Blue. This distinctive family of blue butterflies resides in the Amazon Basin. Morpho Butterflies possess beautiful blue wings fringed in black with white spots. Comparatively large in size, they enjoy a broad range; some of the 29 different species have appeared in North America, as well as most of Central and South America. Typically, only male butterflies boast the same vibrant coloration in their wings which motivated the development of Structural Blue. The Morpho Butterfly harbors a secret which may ultimately have contributed to the development of the stunning new iridescent pigment.

Blue, Yet Not Really Blue at All


When researchers sought to reproduce the vivid blue coloration of the male Morpho Butterfly's wings, they discovered a remarkable fact. While these structures do indeed appear a very striking blue hue to the human eye, that impression rests upon an illusion as profound as the Physics of light itself. The Blue Morpho actually does not possess blue-colored pigmentation in its wings. 

A microscopic examination of the insect's finely structured wings reveals iridescent properties. These anatomical surfaces consist of a remarkable natural architecture of angled layers of air and chitin. They cause incoming light waves to diffract and interfere with one another. This process will cancel out some light waves and intensify the reflection of others. By studying the optics of the butterfly's wings, research scientists involved in the Structural Blue project gained insights which they applied in the development of the new automotive pigment.

A Fortuitous And Lengthy Collaboration

The two firms which joined forces to jointly create Structural Blue possessed some key resources which contributed to this breakthrough. Lexus, widely known as a manufacturer of upscale automotive products, manufactures luxury vehicles. It possesses extensive experience in the auto design field. (The company's 2017 LC Coupes begin at a manufacturer's starting recommended price of $92,000.) The new iridescent blue will appeal to customers seeking exclusive and innovative features in sporty vehicles. Lexus reportedly expended 15 years developing Structural Blue, a perseverance no doubt fueled by a demanding, highly competitive luxury vehicle marketplace.

Lexus chose to collaborate with VIAVI Solutions, Inc., a manufacturer known for its work with thin optical coatings.The California-based firm has helped advance the field of optical technology in the IT industry. For instance, formerly a branch of JDS Uniphase, a company which produced the lasers used in scanning devices, Viavi Solutions, Inc. began its existence as a separate entity in August, 2015 (towards the end of the Structural Blue project, apparently). It currently manufactures a range of optical products, including some designed to detect counterfeiting. Viavi Solutions, Inc. also offers a variety of optical thin film coatings targeting 3D sensors, virtual reality gaming platforms and light sensors. Its collaboration with Lexus permitted the development of the striking new iridescent automotive paint color.

A Complex Coating Product

Lexus and Structural Blue Paint

The actual production of Structural Blue vehicles reportedly demands intensive manufacturing efforts, one reason perhaps Lexus will supply this new paint color only via a limited number of its LC Coupes during the next few months. (These special LC Structural Blue Edition models may well become collectors items.) The steps involved in manufacturing the paint pigment initially involved the creation of a very complex multi-step coating formulation.

The engineering team working on Structural Blue eventually succeeded in refining this process. Now the generation of the pigment requires only 12 steps (as opposed to 40 previously) and the manufacture of a coating composed of seven layers.This unusual new paint pigment conveys shimmering properties. Its sharp blue, iridescent quality will likely ensure a high demand among LC Coupe purchasers. Customers should prepare to remain patient, however; Lexus revealed it cannot produce more than two vehicles displaying the new coating on a daily basis!