Gallery: Scientists Develop World’s Lightest Metal, 100x Lighter than S...


This, we assure you, is a real photograph. Researchers at the University of California Irvine have developed a material that is as strong as metal yet 100 times lighter than Styrofoam. The material is constructed from a micro-lattice of nickel phosphorous tubes that is 99.9% air. The tubes are hollow and have walls 1,000 times thinner than a human hair, yet they have the strength of metal with the added benefit of being ultra resistant to strain. Researchers believe this new material could be used to make lightweight batteries that could eventually bring down the weight of green vehicles and increase their efficiency while using less material in the process.

Modern buildings, exemplified by the Eiffel Tower or the Golden Gate Bridge, are incredibly light and weight-efficient by virtue of their architecture,” said William Carter, manager of the architected materials group at HRL. “We are revolutionizing lightweight materials by bringing this concept to the nano and micro scales.” The structure of the new micro-lattice metal isn’t visually that far off from the latticed structure of the Eiffel Tower.

The new metal’s lattice work does more than make it lightweight, it allows the material to be extremely resiliant. In studies it has shown to completely recover from compression exceeding 50 percent strain and bounces right back after absorbing a high amount of energy. “Materials actually get stronger as the dimensions are reduced to the nanoscale,” noted the principle investigator on this project, UCI mechanical and aerospace engineer Lorenzo Valdevit. “Combine this with the possibility of tailoring the architecture of the micro-lattice and you have a unique cellular material.” If a large-scale production method was developed for this material we’ve no doubt it would revolutionize the efficiency of all kinds of energy intensive machines — most notably cars — and could reduce material needs worldwide.


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  1. Ashish Gupta November 9, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    main apse scienctist se kahna chahatha hu ki hamari dhuniya me koi bhi kaam muskil nhi hi agar hum chahahe toh hum kya nhi kr sakte ishe tarah maine ek apni deemagi kojh se soch ke aapko bata rhu ki hum iron jaisa suit bana sakte kyu na dhuniya ke sabse strong metal ko le aur dhuniya ke sabse hulke metal ko le agar hum dono ki atomic struture ko mila ke dekh he ki issa kya hi jo strong metal ko itana strong banata hi aur issa kya ki sabse hulka metal itana hulka kaise hi agar hum in dono ke atomic structure ko mila ke dekh he ki dono atoms ka structure kaise hi jis se hum dono atoms ki kobiyo ko pechaan sakte hi isse humari kafi saari presaani sulag ja he gi agar hum in dono ko mila ke ek naye metal structure ka avisacar kre toh hum woh kr sakte hi jo humne kabhi socha bhi nhi tha

  2. tracybrislin June 28, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    where can I buy This metal?

  3. lilli December 31, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    very good now you can make automobiles powered harnessing the wind with lightweight propelled turbines and also using the power of the wheels turning

  4. J. M October 15, 2012 at 8:36 am

    This is interesting, but would a metal with this weight resist the weight of a humen being sitting in a car no matter what was the weight? The picture is magneficant and hard to believe. Science really suprises us everyday.

  5. sangs35 July 6, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Is this metal fit to make jewellery??

  6. DVW382 June 14, 2012 at 6:14 am

    What if you were to make small, covered pars of a car out of this, say, things like compressor wheels, maybe rollcages? Also, what about general metal abilities like the ability to conduct heat and electricity?

  7. tjw January 14, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    is this new metal heat resistant

  8. JER1980 December 2, 2011 at 1:54 am

    Very interesting! This metal was developed by the daughter of a scientist who spent years working in Roswell, New Mexico!

  9. Tommo92 November 27, 2011 at 4:54 am

    Notice how they haven’t commented on it’s ability to resist chemical weathering? It’d have to be held in a specialised casing, so I’d hazard a guess that a car wouldn’t cut it. Plus, since they’re engineering a lattice to down to the molecular level, making large objects would invariably increase the risk of a fault, which could potentially weaken the structure. and think of the cost involved in creating, or replacing, an object made of molecular lattice that’s the size of a car’s panel. That’s like making your entire car out of carbon fibre, except carbon fibre would still be many times less expensive. That’s without thinking about the engine, crumple zones, or anything that undergoes friction.

    In the end, steel and plastic will still be cheaper to produce than nanotubes throughout our lifetimes.

  10. kurstiana November 22, 2011 at 11:20 am

    wait so if we made cars from this stuff what would keep them heavy enough to not lift off

  11. mat6161161 November 20, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Wait, you’re saying you can balance a piece of metal on top of a dandelion without disturbing it?

  12. caeman November 18, 2011 at 11:34 am

    So, car bodies could be made from this stuff?

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