Scientists Develop Graphene Aerogel – The World’s Lightest Material

by , 03/26/13

Graphene Aerogel, aerographite, Zhejiang University, world's lightest material, graphene oxide, carbon, nanocarbon, world's lightest substance,

Last year, German scientists created aerographite, which at 0.2 milligrams per cubic centimeter was dubbed the world’s lightest material. However they have now been eclipsed by a team from China’s Zhejiang University that has created Graphene Aerogel – a sponge-like solid material made from freeze-dried carbon and graphene oxide that weighs just .16 milligrams per cubic centimeter. That’s just twice the density of hydrogen.

Graphene Aerogel, aerographite, Zhejiang University, world's lightest material, graphene oxide, carbon, nanocarbon, world's lightest substance,

The team, headed by Professor Gao Chao, discovered that the ultra-light aerogel has surprising flexibility and oil-absorbing abilities. The team have reportedly long been developing macroscopic graphene materials, such as one-dimensional graphene fibers and two-dimensional graphene films, however this time they decided to make three-dimensional porous material out of graphene in order to break the record.

The new carbon sponge has a density lower than helium, and while this is enough to break the Guinness World Record, the Chinese team believe that the material’s true value lies in its performance. The new material is not only extremely elastic, but it can absorb up to 900 times their own weight in oil and water. It can also absorb organics at a high speed: one gram of such aerogel can absorb 68.8 grams of organics per second, which is useful in the event of an oil spill.

“Maybe one day when oil spill occurs, we can scatter them on the sea and absorb the oil quickly. Due to its elasticity, both the oil absorbed and the aerogel can be recycled,” Gao Chao said in a statement. Until that day comes, the Chinese team are still exploring its applications, of which, this writer is sure there are many.

+ Zhejiang University

via Graphene-Info

Images © Xinhauo/Zhejiang University

Related Posts


or your inhabitat account below


  1. Jack Greenwall August 30, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    if its ” twice the density of hydrogen.” why is it not flying away ? ? ?? ? ? ?

  2. Lalit Kumar March 2, 2014 at 2:14 am

    plz tell me about tensile strength,ult. strength ..n more lyk that of this material…..

  3. Lalit Kumar March 2, 2014 at 2:11 am

    can we use this metal as a more rapidly moving part eg. at 100 rpm or at 10000 rpm

  4. greenkiran March 29, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    This material is getting too good to be true…who knows, maybe, just maybe, this could be the medium through which non-optical illusion holograms could be projected into

  5. GreenKiran March 29, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    A bit ironic you used the word ‘eclipsed’ to symbolize something thats meant to be smaller in concept

  6. Uncle B March 29, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Heat conductor or insulator?

  • Read Inhabitat

  • Search Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Browse by Keyword

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home