JUL 29, 2017 6:58 AM PDT

Most Airplanes Are White, and Here's Why

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard


You've probably seen airplanes of all colors in the sky, but a major of them use white or light-colored paint to give the surface some color. It turns out that the reason behind the use of white paint isn't just cosmetic.

White stays the coolest when exposed to sunlight because it reflects most of the Sun's light away. Unlike dark colors, which absorb some of the Sun's light rays, white helps keep the airplane cooler and protects critical components from tarnishing.

Some companies tried going with no paint at all to save costs further, but they quickly learned that bare metal airplanes oxidize rather quickly, so it meant consistently maintaining the metal surface. In the end, most companies switched to white paint jobs to minimize maintenance.

The same concept is used in a host of school and public transportation buses, where the tops are usually painted white to reduce heat. Of course, when you're so high in the sky, protection from solar radiation is just a little bit more critical than being on the ground.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
SEP 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
Scientists Document Swimming Styles of Sea Butterflies
SEP 10, 2020
Scientists Document Swimming Styles of Sea Butterflies
Snails, marine and terrestrial, are likely primarily imagined to be attached to a substrate. However, under the waves, t ...
OCT 01, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
OCT 01, 2020
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
  Researchers from Roma Tre University in Italy have confirmed the existence of four large lakes under the ice at M ...
OCT 09, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why the Sun's Atmosphere is Hotter than its Surface
OCT 09, 2020
Why the Sun's Atmosphere is Hotter than its Surface
Researchers have found evidence of nanojets (bright, thin lights) in the solar atmosphere, also known as the corona. The ...
DEC 11, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Cosmic Expansion: Universe Stretches, We don't
DEC 11, 2020
Cosmic Expansion: Universe Stretches, We don't
Physicists believe that we exist in an expanding universe. But what does that mean? Do our habitats, bodies, and atoms & ...
DEC 15, 2020
Immunology
The Possibility of Improving an Older Adult's Response to Vaccines
DEC 15, 2020
The Possibility of Improving an Older Adult's Response to Vaccines
A recent study published in the eLife journal examined how they can improve older adults' responses to vaccines ...
APR 07, 2021
Plants & Animals
Scientists Discover a Crab-Dissolving Parasite
APR 07, 2021
Scientists Discover a Crab-Dissolving Parasite
Parasites abound throughout the natural world. While not all of them cause the host's death, this newly discovered p ...
Loading Comments...