Light as a Feather

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Light as a Feather

A team of researchers from the University of California at Irvine, HRL laboratories and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created the world’s lightest material with a density of 0.9 mg/cc. The material is so light that it could sit atop a dandelion without damaging its seeds.

The material has been developed by fabricating a lattice of interconnected hollow tubes with a wall thickness 1,000 times less than that of a human hair. It is made up of 90% nickel. Although other materials could be used, the nickel version is the easiest to make.

The material is 100 times lighter than Styrofoam and consists of 99.99% air. The remaining 0.01% solid is made at nanometre, micron and millimetre scales. Researchers state that it could be used in the field of aerospace, acoustics and battery applications. 

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