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.
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.
"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 of HRL said in the release.
To understand the structure of the material, think of the Eiffel
Tower or the Golden Gate Bridge -- which are both light and weight
efficient -- but on a nano-scale.
The material in the picture above is made out of 90% nickel, but Bill
Carter, manager of the architected materials group at HRL, said it can
be made out of other materials as well -- the nickel version was just
the easiest to make.