Why are the wings of some butterflies are painted in the black color?

Today scientists know more than 158 000 species of butterflies, which differ from each other in size of body and wings. The patterns on the wings can consist of a variety of colors, but on the wings of almost any butterfly there are areas painted black. Recently American scientists have studied these areas under a microscope and found that they have a complex structure, which reflects the sunlight. Based on this, scientists announced that some sections of butterfly wings painted in the black color — darker than established in 2014 the material wantable (Vantablack). But why do butterflies need so the dark areas of the wings and why compare them with the blackest material in the world?

Wantable (Vantablack) is a material of many tiny tubes, which absorbs 99,965% of the incident radiation in the form of sunlight, microwaves and radio waves. Particles of light, called photons, fall and get lost between the tangles of tiny tubes. They are not reflected back and ultimately just heat the material, which is similar to absolute blackness, a hole in space.

The structure of butterfly wings

Examining butterfly wings under a microscope, the scientists found that they are composed of tiny scales. It turned out that they work much harder than the tangle of tubes material wantable. If the artificial black material consists of growing on the foil vertical tubes, the scales on the butterfly’s wings are in the shape of crests, cells, ledges, sponges and so on. It is noteworthy that rebristyi surface cheshuek, the less they reflect light and color the wings in most black color. Smoother areas reflect up to 16 times more color and not painted completely black, and have a dark brown hue. It is noteworthy that if there are dark areas around the bright colors, the black color seems even more intense.

What butterflies need as dark areas on wings, scientists do not yet know. However, they have a few suggestions. The first version says that the black areas complement the patterns that are needed to attract females and males. The second version says that the dark color helps butterflies to hide from predators. And if you believe the third assumption, that the dark parts of the wings are involved in the regulation of heat in the body of the butterflies.

The darkest color on Earth

According to ScienceAlert, scientists are greatly interested in the fact that despite their complex structure, dark areas of the wings have a thickness of 3-4 nm. It is much smaller than the material thickness wantable, which is positioned as an excellent coating for devices, which is necessary to remove excess color. So, using wantable in telescopes, scientists will be able to make them more powerful and easier to detect distant space objects for further study.

How complex structures on the wings of a butterfly fails to maintain the minimum thickness, the scientists is still unknown. But when that secret is revealed, they will be able to create something that transcends the material wantable thickness. This will allow to use the material in smaller devices and might even reduce the cost.

Perhaps the material will even be able to disguise the plane, so it cannot be detected by night or by radar.

The black car

The black paint is used not only in optical devices like telescopes, but also in cars. In 2019, the German company BMW introduced the world to the BMW X6, painted Vantablack VBx2. Due to its black paint, the car has gained not only a stylish and strict design, but actually became formless. But the fact is that the body has practically ceased to reflect light and the curves become invisible. We can say that the car has become like a black hole that just absorbs all the radiation. Unfortunately, in mass production car came out, and for good reason — wanting to buy “space” the vehicle obviously would be a lot.

Where to buy the black dye?

Material wantable was introduced only in 2014, but if you want you can buy. It deals with their production company Surrey NanoSystems, but only to legal persons and, in particular, only registered in the UK. From this company BMW and bought paint to cover the aforementioned BMW X6.

Yes, miracle paint from Surrey NanoSystems inaccessible to ordinary people. But individuals may find in online shops paint Singularity Black, which absorbs light better than most of the black material. A small jar with a capacity of 20 milliliters costs $ 50. Painted with a paint of some object, you can make it completely invisible against the background of the same black background is well illustrated in the video below.