A team of researchers from the University of California, HRL Laboratories, and the California Institute of Technology have developed the world’s lightest material , approximately 100 times lighter than extruded polystyrene (marketed under the brand name Styrofoam). The new material contains 99.99% air and only 0.01% solids . The solid part, manufactured on a nanometric scale, is made up of a network of hollow tubes with a thickness a thousand times less than a hair .
Despite being a metal, it recovers completely after compression and has an extraordinary capacity to absorb energy. ? At present the materials are much stronger if we create them in the dimensions of the nanoscale ?, explains Lorenzo Valdevit, main author of the work published in the journal Science .
“The same thing happens with modern buildings such as the Eiffel Tower or the Golden Gate Bridge, which are light and efficient thanks to their architecture: we revolutionized light materials by transferring this concept to the microscale and nanoscale”, points out William Carter, co-author of the study.