News From The Future – Lightest Material On Earth

Light

Scientists invent lightest material on Earth. What now? @ latimes.com.

Scientists have invented a new material that is so lightweight it can sit atop a fluffy dandelion without crushing the little fuzzy seeds. It’s so lightweight, styrofoam is 100 times heavier.

It is so lightweight, in fact, that the research team consisting of scientists at UC Irvine, HRL Laboratories and Caltech say in the peer-reviewed Nov. 18 issue of Science that it is the lightest material on Earth, and no one has asked them to run a correction yet.

That’s light!

The material has been dubbed “ultralight metallic microlattice,” and according to a news release sent out by UC Irvine, it consists of 99.99% air thanks to its “microlattice” cellular architecture.

Ok makers, what would you do with this material?

32 thoughts on “News From The Future – Lightest Material On Earth

  1. “The trick is to fabricate a lattice of interconnected hollow tubes with a wall thickness 1,000 times thinner than a human hair,” lead author Tobias Shandler 
    — yep, that’s the trick.

    See also… http://blogs.nature.com/news/2011/11/the_eiffel_tower_of_microarchi.html
    …with a video of this stuff under compression.  Tell me that’s not amazing!

  2. That’s amazing! Why was my first thought “mithril”? :D

    … but yes, just because it’s lightweight doesn’t mean it’s usable. Strength and cost are just a couple a few factors you need to consider in order to see if it could ever be usable. Still, it’s never hurts having more materials to choose from. 

  3. Perhaps this new material will fulfill the long-sought-after dream of the Vacuum Balloon: a material light enough to float but strong enough to withstand the atmospheric pressure induced by a partial vacuum contained within.

  4. it actually is NOT the lightest MATERIAL on earth…it is the lightest STRUCTURE on earth it is made from metal…which is NOT light…it is the inovative STRUCTURE that makes it light for it’s volume….so..i am asking for a correction to the claim….

  5. Presuming it has insulating powers commensurate with its mostly empty structure, I’d like to try it to in a hobo stove. Just form it into a shape to fit between two nested tin-cans. I’m also presuming the material would be sturdy enough to handle the jostling of backpacking.

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