Boeing has recently released a video that shows off the revolutionary micro-lattice. It is the world’s lightest material as per Boeing. It is best described as a ‘3D open-cellular polymer structure’ and has been created using interconnecting hollow tubes with the outer walls sporting a thickness of 1/1,000th the width of human hair.
The material is 1/100th the weight when compared with Styrofoam and is thus the lightest and one of the strongest material that is known to science so far.
Sophia Yang, a research scientist at HRL laboratories who has worked with Boeing on this project says that the metal is basically 99.99% air. According to her, it is comparable to bone that features a rigid outside and almost hollow structure inside thus creating an open-cellular structure. As a conclusion; it is remarkably strong and light.
The material’s construction was carried out with the aim of utilizing it in aerospace engineering. The engineers have plans to make use of micro lattice for plane interior when it comes to side panels, overhead cabins or walkway areas. The result would be a drastic reduction in the weight of the aircraft and thus rendering it more fuel efficient and subsequently reducing the cost of its operation.
Yang also talked about the material’s property of being capable of absorbing high levels of impact. She said, while keeping the ‘egg challenge’ as an example, “You need to drop an egg from 25 stories and protect that egg … What we can do is design the micro lattice to absorb the force that the egg feels. So instead of having an egg that’s wrapped in three feet of bubble wrap, now you have a much smaller package that your egg can sit in.”
It was originally unveiled back in November 2011 and was also termed as one of the 10 world-changing innovations.