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Micro-Lattice on Dandelion Dan Little HRL Laboratories, LLC

The new lightest material in the world has recently been created by a team of scientists representing Hughes Research Laboratories, Caltech and UC Irvine. This new material is 100 times lighter than styrofoam and even ligther than aerogel.

The material is a micro-lattice, of which only 0.01 percent is solid. This solid part is the hollow tubes that are only 100 nanometers thick. Its density is a mere 0.9mg/cc, while the least dense an aerogel ever got was 1.1mg/cc. Not only is the material very light, it's also very strong and shock absorbent. It an compress by 50% and then recover its shape - very unusual for a metallic material. Unlike most scientific breakthroughs of this kind, this one was not inspired by ultralight elements. The research for this undertaking came from analyzing how certain structures in the world, such as the Eiffel Tower or the Golden Gate Bridge that connects San Francisco to Marin County, are so strong yet so light.

Who is the mastermind behind this project? This material was developed for none other than DARPA, which means there is no shortage of ways this creation can be put to good use. Even despite DARPA's involvement, defense is far from the only way this material can benefit humanity. Its potential civilian uses include battery electrodes and insulation.

Written by: Denis Ivanov

Source: popsci.com
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