Aerographite, is the name of the new lightest material in the world. Composed of a network of porous carbon tubes that are three-dimensionally interwoven at nano and micro level, it only weighs 0.2 milligrams per cubic centimetre. That’s 75 times lighter than Styrofoam, but it’s actually a very strong material.
The research was done by scientists from Kiel University (KU) and Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH).
The material “is jet-black, remains stable, is electrically conductive, ductile and non-transparent.” These unique properties and the material’s very low density allow aerographite to greatly outperforms all similar materials.
“Our work is causing great discussions in the scientific community. Aerographite weights four times less than world-record-holder up to now,” says Matthias Mecklenburg, co-author and Ph.D. student at the TUHH.
The previous record holder was a nickel material that is also constructed of tiny tubes. The primary difference is nickel has a higher atomic mass than carbon.
Aerographite also has tubes with porous walls, making them even lighter. The material is highly resilient though, it can be compressed up to 95 percent and then be pulled back to its original form with no damage. The addition of weight stress actually makes the material even stronger, to a point.
The researchers think that the new material could allow for great reductions in battery weight, leading to more efficient electric cars and bikes. Other possible uses mentioned by the researchers include in aviation and satellites, thanks to its high tolerance for vibration, and for use in water and air purification.
The full press release can be read on Page 2.