Boeing Creates Lightest Metal Ever
Boeing claims that it has created a metal that is so light - it's slightly lighter than air itself.
(Boeing open cellular polymer structure lightest metal)
The microlattice looks like a sponge or a mesh, and is simultaneously flexible and very strong, according to Boeing. Should it become widely used, Boeing (BA) said the material could help airlines save huge amounts of money.
Boeing describes the new microlattice as an "open cellular polymer structure." The main use of the material would be structural components, such as sidewall or floor panels of commercial jets.
The material was jointly developed by HRL Laboratories, a joint venture between Boeing and General Motors (GM), in collaboration with Cal Tech and UC Irvine. The microlattice weighs only about one tenth as much as carbon fiber, and is actually slightly lighter than air itself, said Bill Carter, the director of the Sensors and Materials Laboratory at HRL.
It will likely first be used on space rockets that Boeing plans to build in about five years, and it should make its way into commercial planes about five years after that...
Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs may recall an ultralight metal called "Harbenite" from his 1929 novel Tarzan at the Earth's Core:
Erich von Harben is something of a scientist and explorer himself, and the last time that I saw him he had just returned from a second expedition into the Wiramwazi Mountains, where he told me that he had discovered a lake-dwelling tribe using canoes made of a metal that was apparently as light as cork and stronger than steel. He brought some samples of the metal back with him..."
(Read more about Harbenite)
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