World’s Lightest Material Developed

If you’re involved in the development of thermal insulation, battery electrodes, catalyst supports, or acoustic, vibration or shock energy damping devices—or simply someone who likes technically advanced things—you may be fascinated to learn that what is described as “the world’s lightest material” has been developed through the collaborative efforts of HRL Laboratories, the California Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Irvine. (Photo by Dan Little © HRL Laboratories, LLC) It is based on a “micro-lattice” cellular architecture that results in an object with 99.99% open volume.

If you’re involved in the development of thermal insulation, battery electrodes, catalyst supports, or acoustic, vibration or shock energy damping devices—or simply someone who likes technically advanced things—you may be fascinated to learn that what is described as “the world’s lightest material” has been developed through the collaborative efforts of HRL Laboratories, the California Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Irvine.

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(Photo by Dan Little © HRL Laboratories, LLC)

It is based on a “micro-lattice” cellular architecture that results in an object with 99.99% open volume. This is achieved by designing the 0.01% solid at the nanometer, micron and millimeter scales.

The material’s density is 0.9 mg/cc.

Explained Dr. Tobias Schaedler, lead author of the research published in the November 18 issue of Science, “The trick is to fabricate a lattice of interconnected hollow tubes with a wall thickness of 100 nanometers, 1,000 times thinner than a human hair.”

Trick, indeed.

And in case you’re wondering exactly what relevance this has to an automotive website: HRL Laboratories is a corporate R&D facility owned by The Boeing Company. . .and General Motors.