We’ve all used the expression “black hole” at some point, haven’t we? Ha, I’ve even used it to describe my purse at times! Scientists and society have been mystified by black holes for decades, rightfully so. Generally speaking, black holes are the relic of massive and burned-out stars and don’t emit any ounce of light. This fascination served as inspiration for London-based architect Asif Khah for the world’s first super-black building which has been unveiled at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The Hyundai Pavilion is a 13,000 square-foot pavilion that features 33′ tall metal facades that are coated entirely with Vantablack VBx2, a derivative of a superblack, man-made chemical substance called Vantablack ... It is said to be the closest thing to a black hole we will ever experience.
Vantablack is made of carbon nanotube arrays that allow any surface coated with the material to absorb nearly 99 percent of light. Touted as the darkest man-made substance in the world, the original Vantablack is so black the human eye can’t quite decipher what it is seeing. Juxtaposed against the pristine whiteness of the Olympic Winter Games, Khan describes his building as a “schism in space,” with four curved walls, each of which is studded with thousands of tiny lights — like stars against the night sky — and hopes his building will provoke a philosophical experience by presenting visitors with a “void of infinite depth and possibility.”
Vantablack is not a color, it’s the almost complete absence of color. When used as a coating, Vantablack appears to change the dimensions of an object, rendering 3D objects completely flat. “To break the fundamental rules of perception, as this material does, turns 3D things into 2D things, it absorbs light instead of reflecting light, it’s as powerful as switching off gravity. That’s the possibility of it in architecture,” said Khan. “Vantablack VBx 2 was created for large scale spray application in areas such as architecture, ceiling blackouts, controlled lighting environments, and other places where designers wish to create unique visual spaces, or control reflected light in ways that have previously been impossible on a large scale.” Vantablack was originally designed for engineering in space, but, since its launch in 2014, requests for other uses have been pouring in.
While this post is about this really cool structure, check out this article about a recent really cool new discovery about black holes that got the astronomy world all a buzz back in December.