updated 10:25 am EST, Fri November 18, 2011
Lightest material created is 99.99 percent empty
A new metallic material that is nearly 100 times lighter than Styrofoam has been created by scientists, according to a paper published in Science. It has a density of 0.9mg/cm3 and is 99.99 percent open volume. Its micro-lattice design is similar to that of the Eiffel Tower, which is very weight-efficient.
The project was commissioned by DARPA and developed by a research team from the University of California, Irvine, the California Institute of Technology, and HRL Laboratories.
The material's interconnected hollow nickel-phosphorous tubes have a wall thickness of just 100 nanometers. They are arranged into three-dimensional asterisk-like cells. The material can be expanded to reap benefits in modern applications. Thanks to a high energy absorption ratio, the material can recover from compressions of over 50 percent strain. It could be used in making battery electrodes, catalyst supports or sound, vibration and shock energy damping. [via Gizmag]