Boeing announced that they’ve created world lightest metal in 2011 with scientists from HRL laboratories.
The new metal found is known as microlattice. It is claimed to be 100% lighter than styrofoam and contain 99% air. Microlattice is made with nickel phosphorous hollow tubes having walls thinner than human hair.
Modern buildings, such as the Eiffel Tower or the Golden Gate Bridge, are extremely light and weight-efficient by virtue of their architecture,” mentioned William Carter, supervisor of the architected materials group at HRL. “We’re revolutionizing light-weight materials by bringing this idea to the nano and micro scales.” The structure of this microlattice is comparable to that of lattice structure of Eiffel Tower.
According to Sophie Yang, a research scientist who helped create microlattice, the new metal is a 3D open cellular polymer structure and it uses the same concept as the structure of our bones. Our bones are an open cellular structure, strong on the outside but hollow from the inside which makes them hard to crush yet they are lightweight.
Furthermore Compression properties of this material are also of significance as it can recover from compression strains of almost 50% and can absorb a large amount of energy.
Applications of this metal can be many in different fields. It can be used in structural components of planes because of its lightness it can save fuel and more efficient planes can be designed.