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World's lightest material is 100 times lighter than Styrofoam

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A new micro-latice structure developed by HRL Laboratories in collaboration with The California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Irvine features a density of only 0.9/mg/cc. Developed for DARPA, the material could find its way into battery electrodes or catalyst supports or as a means to dampen acoustics, shock, and vibration.

world's lightest materia
world's lightest materia

When the uprising begins, the skies will darken with dandelion seeds transporting the nanobot armies dressed in chainmail.

The magnificent photograph above shows a new micro-latice structure developed by HRL Laboratories in collaboration with The California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Irvine. Not only is it strong — able to recover fully from compression exceeding 50 percent strain — it also features a density of only 0.9 mg/cc making it about 100 times lighter than Styrofoam. It also bests the previous lightweight champion revealed last year as "liquid smoke," or multiwalled carbon nanotube aerogel with a density of 4 mg/cc.

The fabrication process developed by HRL's Dr. Alan Jacobsen uses a series of tubes — just like the internet — to build a material consisting of 99.99 percent open volume. The lattice is formed from a collection of linked hollow tubes with a wall thickness of just 100 nanometers, each about 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. Researches claim that the material’s architecture results in "unprecedented mechanical behavior for a metal."

Developed for DARPA, it could find its way into battery electrodes or catalyst supports or as a means to dampen acoustics, shock, and vibration.

Photo credit: Dan Little, HRL Laboratories, LLC.