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Science & Technology

World's lightest material unveiled

November 21, 2011 | Comment icon 13 comments



Image Credit: Dan Little, HRL Laboratories
The remarkable new material is 100 times lighter than Styrofoam and consists of 99.99% air.
Developed at the University of California, the material is comprised of a micro-lattice of tiny hollow metallic tubes that are 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. Scientists hope to utilise the material in the construction of batteries and shock absorbers.
The substance is made out of tiny hollow metallic tubes arranged into a micro-lattice - a criss-crossing diagonal pattern with small open spaces between the tubes.


Source: BBC News | Comments (13)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by Swadwa 11 years ago
I didn't see anything on the possible environmental impact of manufacturing this product. That should be ALWAYS be taken into account for any product that may go into mass production!
Comment icon #5 Posted by DieChecker 11 years ago
I do wonder how they make it. Hollow tubes that are all joined together. Way to small for any kind of welding/attaching techniques. I'd guess it is not molded, unless the mold is very fragile and is just destroyed every time they manufacture some. That would tend to limit size though. the thin tubes could be made by vapor deposition, I'd guess. Very Cool.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Bildr 11 years ago
I didn't see anything on the possible environmental impact of manufacturing this product. That should be ALWAYS be taken into account for any product that may go into mass production! It's sad, but it's often always the last question people ask about a product. Our race rarely cares about its own planet life and nature that whitout it we would all go Bye Bye
Comment icon #7 Posted by BrandOfAmber 11 years ago
Ahem. This may be premature, but in my view, this discovery just opened up the gateway to orbit. The biggest thing holding us back from populating the inner Solar System at present is the cost of getting payload to orbit. This is directly measured in lbs./dollar ratios. Lowering one side of the equation this dramatically would necessarily lower the other side to balance... Spaceships just got cheap people... -Brand of Amber I do wonder how they make it. Hollow tubes that are all joined together. Way to small for any kind of welding/attaching techniques. I'd guess it is not molded, unless the m... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by JJsDietFitness 11 years ago
I'm sure they have been using this paticular tech at area 51 for years. There they don't care about anything....
Comment icon #9 Posted by NikkiAidyn 11 years ago
Ehh. Cool, but they're just gonna make more coolers out of it.
Comment icon #10 Posted by DieChecker 11 years ago
My guess is that they are either growing them, or assembling them at the molecular level. Like Carbon Nanotubes... Either way sounds hard. The controls needed to "Grow" it would be crazy, and assembling it on the molecular level would be very time intensive.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Xanthurion2 11 years ago
couldn't they find more useful things than batteries and shock absorbers to use it on?
Comment icon #12 Posted by GunXpatriot 11 years ago
Yeah, you guys are right and this is a great advancement. I agree with Xanthurion2, there could be way better uses. Environmental impact is imprtant, but just as important is "is it even worth it to mass produce?" How much does it cost to make and would it even be something that could become widespread and used in daily life?
Comment icon #13 Posted by BrianPotter 11 years ago
No doubt Formula1 teams will be one of the first to try this new material if it proves its worth...probably be one of the few able to afford it at the beginning too


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