World's lightest material invented

Nov. 18, 2011 at 12:14 PM
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IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 18 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say they have invented a material that is the lightest on Earth, 100 times lighter than Styrofoam.

The material was developed by a research team consisting of scientists at the University of California, Irvine, HRL Laboratories and Caltech, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

The material has been dubbed "ultralight metallic microlattice," and consists of 99.99 percent air thanks to its "microlattice" cellular architecture, a UC Irvine release said.

"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 said in the release.

The material may have use in the aerospace industry, acoustic dampening and perhaps some battery applications, the researchers said.

The announcement of the material was published in the journal Science.

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