Samantha Murphy July 20, 2012
German scientists have developed a sturdy material called Aerographite made mostly of air, opening up huge implications for the future development of electronics.
The jet-black, non-transparent porous carbon material — which was created by scientists at Kiel University and Hamburg University of Technology — was detailed in the July edition of scientific journal Advanced Materials.
Since Aerographite is electrically conductive and so lightweight, the scientists hope it could be used in the future as lightweight batteries. They believe these small batteries could be used in green transportation such as electronic cars and e-bikes in the future.
It weighs in at 0.2 milligrams for each cubic centimetre, making it the lightest material in the world. It’s lighter than a nickel material that was presented to the public about six months ago.
The news comes as researchers last year at the University of California Irvine developed a material as strong as metal while 100 times lighter than Styrofoam.
“Our work is causing great discussions in the scientific community. Aerographite weights four times less than world-record-holder up to now,” Matthias Mecklenburg, co-author and Ph.D. student at the TUHH, said on Kiel University’s website.
Made by developing a linked chain of carbon nanotubes onto a zinc-oxide template, it is extremely resilient. If you were to compress Aerographite, it would bounce back to its natural state without any damage. Most other materials weaken when they undergo such stress.
“It is able to be compressed up to 95 per cent and be pulled back to its original form without any damage,” said Professor Rainer Adelung of Kiel University. “Up to a certain point, the Aerographite will become even more solid and therefore stronger than before. Also, the newly constructed material absorbs light rays almost completely. One could say it creates the blackest black.”
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