Researchers from the University of Irvine and The California Institute of Technology have created what they believe is the world's lightest material - One that can sit atop a Dandelion Fluff, without destroying its seeds.
Purported to be 100 times lighter than Styrofoam, the material is made from 99.99% air and tiny hollow metallic tubes with walls 1,000 times thinner than a single strand of human hair. Yet, it is strong enough to bounce back to 98% of its original shape, after being compressed to half its size.
The researchers say the secret to their creation is the orderly lattice design arrangement of the hollow metallic tubes. This not only makes it more resilient to impact than other ultra-light substance, like aerogels which have random cellular structures, but also, have extremely high energy absorption properties.
While further tests and development are needed, experts believe that once ready, this material will be useful for battery electrodes or inside materials that require acoustic, vibration or shock energy absorption.