New Material is Lighter Than Air But Strong Enough to Build Planes and Cars

By: | July 30th, 2014

A new material has been developed that could revolutionize the aerospace and automotive industries. It’s ultra light in weight but exceptionally strong.

Researchers from MIT and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have developed this new class of materials which are as light as aerogels, yet 10,000 times stronger. According to LLNL’s Christopher Spadaccini, the material is among the lightest materials in the world and it can withstand a load of at least 160,000 times its own weight.

More about this special material:

The new materials developed are not aerogels, but are metamaterials. The properties of this material are not found in the nature. This synthetic porous material is the lowest known density solid. The strength of this artificial material comes from its geometric structure and not from its chemical composition.

These metamaterials were made by making use of projection micro-stereo lithography, which is a form of desktop 3D printing. Using this method, the researchers created materials out of metal, polymer and ceramic lattices.

This works on a microscopic level and can create highly complex, three-dimensional microstructures layer by layer very quickly for easy prototyping.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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