Mas Subramanian, a chemist and professor at Oregon State University, was leading an electronics-related project in 2009 when he and a student made an exciting discovery: a new blue pigment. The brilliant color, known as YlnMn blue, is the first new blue in over 200 years and, as a result, the inspiration for the newest Crayola crayon.
Crayola is interested in waxing this intense blue color for a variety of reasons. YlnMn blue is renowned as a “durable” color, in addition to its vibrant hue, which will no doubt translate well onto paper. This means that it will not fade even when mixed with water or subjected to temperature changes. It’s also simple to replicate. These chromatic quirks appeal to both crayon connoisseurs and commercial companies.
When Subramanian and a student combined and heated manganese oxide, yttrium, and indium, they accidentally discovered YlnMn blue. When they discovered that the reaction produced a brilliant electric blue, Subramanian knew they’d discovered something special. He told Fast Company, “It was serendipity, or a happy accident, because we weren’t looking for it.” “Most scientific discoveries come from unexpected places.”
Boxes featuring the new blue crayon are expected to hit the shelves by the end of the year. Before it can make its grand debut, however, YlnMn will be receive a snazzy new name, courtesy of a colorful contest held by Crayola.
Crayola has decided to turn YlnMn blue, the first new blue pigment in 200 years, into a crayon.
The new blue was discovered by scientist Mas Subramanian in 2009.