Vantablack is not so old and it has every artist and designer on the hunt for it. In case you have no idea what vantablack is, it is the blackest black that man has ever known. It is so dark, users claim that when you look at it for so long you are only able to see a hole. If you had a vantablack circle on your forehead, it would look like it has a deep hole.
As much as vantablack sounds interesting, it is not easily accessible. Its properties, potential health risks, costs and applications make it unsuitable for the civilian. The military and astronauts might get to wear vantablack clothing in the future but the civilian has a slim chance. This comes as a disappointment for everyone excited about something even darker. Let’s delve deeper into knowing more about the material since its conception.
Essentially, vantablack was once a scientific success as the most truly black tone in human existence. Garments made from Vantablack could be the blackest garments in the world. The material was created by a British company Surrey Nanosytems. It is a unique fabric and is made in a different way from the synthetic options. It is grown with countless carbon nanotubes.
One tube is as thin as a single strand of your hair separated 10,000 times. This is what makes it highly dense to block out light. The tubes are grown like a field of carbon grass and they are spaced apart. When light hits the fabric, it only gets between the tubes and bounces around. It literally gets absorbed and converted to heat. So, light gets into the fabric but doesn’t leave.
If any light leaves the material it’s very little. Carbon nanotubing became a thing in the 90s and ever since designers have been racing to create the blackest of blacks. There have been deeper blacks invented over the years.
Vantablack as a color is beneficial in making several things including: ultra-black coatings, Ultralight wiring, touch screens and enhancing the strength of components in the aerospace industry.
So many people find it interesting and they want to use it. Architects want to use it to create optical effects in a building as well as to absorb heat and put it out.
In the fashion world, the vantablack fabric fascination comes down to the idea of the classic little black dress which has been a staple in women’s wardrobes for decades. It would work with other types of dresses but just the idea of bringing a darker tone to the dress, regardless of the design or length is intriguing.
Although fashion experts argue that the extreme darkness of the material might make the wearer of the dress appear 2-dimensional. The dress’s ability to flatter your body will depend on the shape of your body and your reason for wearing it. It’s the kind of dress that would feel right at home in the Met gala or any catwalk runway than on a movie date night.
The fabric is sensitive to the touch yet strong enough to hold up well to shock and vibration. Plus, the carbon nanotubes have no mass so it feels like it’s made from air. This makes it ideal for items meant to be worn or used on a bumpy ride like space and military equipment.
It’s hard to place a price tag on Vantablack because it is not available for commercial use. There is a popular watchmaker that claims it has used Vantablack to make a limited edition of 50 timepieces. The watches cost between 75,000 dollars and 95,000 dollars.
It is taking time because vantablack is not a paint or pigment but a coating of nanotubes. It is not a dye either. Only BMW has been able to make a car with the color and it was meant to be a one-time experience. The paint would be too expensive and it’s not even guaranteed that it can handle the rigors of road conditions on the daily.
For now, it is not possible. But it is something you can keep in your bucket list. The military and aerospace workers have a better chance of wearing something in the future than civilians. It is the material’s potential health risks, costs and applications that make it unsuitable for clothing.
However, the UK-based company Surrey is experimenting with using the color on fabrics. As much as it will take time, there is some hope.
Another reason why you cannot get vantablack clothing is because of Anish Kapoor who has been labeled a selfish temperamental artist after he purchased and maintained exclusive rights to the color. Word on the street has it that he has denied the commercial use of vantablack and that he is not really preventing people from getting skin conditions and other health issues.
This happens to be of the reasons why vantablack is rumored to be illegal. It is not exactly illegal. You can only be sued for using it as you would be violating Anish Kapoor’s exclusive rights. You must get permission from him to use the color on your car or walls.
The British company, Surrey NanoSystems felt they could not produce more of this color for a wider application. They gave Mr. Kapoor exclusive rights because he works with voids.
Meanwhile, some cloth makers like Trusted SourcePhoebe Heess Inspired by Vantablack, we are creating the first ever blacker than black fabric. It reflects 40% less light than normal black. This was made possible by reverse engineering the ultrablack scales of the Gaboon Viper. www.phoebeheess.com claim to have made a shirt blacker than any black on earth. The shirt is said to absorb up to 99.6% of light and is an inspiration of vantablack. Trusted SourceRedbubble logo www.redbubble.com also claims to have vantablack clothing.
Vantablack is not exactly dangerous like the common poisons. It won’t kill you like a poison would, but the ingredients used in its creation may cause skin, lungs and eye problems.
Some people argue that harsh chemicals are used to make items for everyday use, but the chemicals used to create vantablack are not as safe as experts will claim. Although it mainly depends on your skin type and health. Generally, it is just safe to avoid chemicals.
If you are locked in a room with this color, you may become sensory deprived as it absorbs all the light and does not affect it. If you use it in the long-term, you may experience loss of life. This may take years. The bottom line is, the color cannot kill you in minutes unless you do something stupid with it but it does have harmful effects when used for long.
You can thin the paint with water and use it on any surface you want with a paint brush. Fun fact: the makers of this paint claim it is not available for Mr. Kapoor.
Another excellent alternative is the highly recommended Procion jet black reactive dye. It is a concentrated dye powder that you can use on any type of clothing material including cotton, linen, rayon and paper. It has myriad uses including; garment dying, batik, tie and dye, air brush, spatter painting and gradation dying for quilters.
Yes. Vantablack is not the blackest option anymore. This has made the desire for the material decline. Like it is with new technology and innovation, there is always someone trying to outsmart the other by creating taking an innovation a little further or making it better.
Developers in MIT did this by trying to improve the oxidization risk of the Vantablack material. In the process, they managed to make it even darker. Vantablack had been the darkest option for the longest time with the ability to absorb 99.96% of any amount of light it was exposed. This means it wasn’t absorbing 0.4%, which the MIT team viewed as a room for improvement.
They managed to increase the light absorption rate to 99.995% which means only 0.005% of light is not absorbed with the new black. Another exciting fact about the new black is that it can grow at temperatures as low as 400C compared to the high temperatures that NASA has used to grow deep blacks. This makes it more practical as it can be grown on lighter materials like aluminum.
Vantablack is a real material and it has its applications but forget about it gracing your fabric store shelves anytime soon and when it does, prepare to part with an arm and a leg to own it. Luckily there are a few good alternatives like the Black 2.0, Black 3.0, VBx1 and VBx2. These alternatives are close to vantablack and can be found in many retail and online stores.
All the clothing stores claiming to make vantablack clothing probably mean they have gotten inspiration from vantablack but they have made clothing items from vantablack material. The bitter truth remains that you cannot get vantablack clothing for now. Vantablack cannot be used for clothing because of its health implications among other reasons.