A new material has been unveiled by US engineers, who used a interlocking lattive structure of hollow metallic tubes to create something that’s both incredibly light and strong for its size.
Along with an “extraordinarily high energy absorption”, the new material is apparently 100 times lighter than styrofoam as well.
“The trick is to fabricate a lattice of interconnected hollow tubes with a wall thickness 1,000 times thinner than a human hair,” said lead author Dr Tobias Schaedler.
According to BBC News, this leads this new lattice structure to come in with a density of 0.9milligrams per cubic centimetre. In contrast, the lightest material before this, silica aerogel, only goes down to 1.0mg per cubic cm.
However, materials like the aerogel and styrofoam have random cellular structures, making them less stiff. The lattice structure of this new material helps it maintain its strength. This was something they modelled on large, man made structures like the eiffel tower.
“Modern buildings, exemplified by the Eiffel Tower or the Golden Gate Bridge are incredibly light and weight-efficient by virtue of their architecture,” said lead author of the study, Dr Tobias Schaedler.
“We are revolutionising lightweight materials by bringing this concept to the nano and micro scales.”