Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has released details of Microlattice, a new material it has developed, which it says is the world’s lightest metal structure.
The structure, which is 99.99% hollow, is 100 times lighter than Styrofoam with a wealth of possibilities for aeronautical design, the company says.
But the material is also strong thanks to the 3D open-cellular polymer structure of interconnected hollow tubes beneath the surface. Each tube wall is 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. The material, the structure of which was inspired by bones, was originally developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Some of its many uses could be for battery electrodes, acoustic, vibration or shock energy damping.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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