Boeing, the American airline company recently came up with a new metal made up of 99.99% air. The metal which essentially is a microlattice is said to be the world’s lightest metal ever. The idea however, was first created in 2011 and was said to be 100 times lighter than styrofoam.

Boeing released a video where Sophia Yang, a research scientist from Architected Materials in HRL Laboratories shows us how light the metal lattice is at, one point blowing it off her hand like a feather.

Microlattice is a three dimensional open cellular structure made of out of small criss-cross diagonal metallic tubes with open spaces in between them. The structure itself is inspired by human bone which is rigid but mostly hollow. This structure could help reduce a lot of weight and can make planes more fuel and cost efficient. They are pretty sturdy yet lightweight.

The best way of explaining this exceptional property is with an regular egg drop challenge where the egg is thrown from a height above the ground. Rather than wrapping the egg with plenty of bubble wrap and having an unsure outcome, The egg can simply be covered with the micro lattice and can land safely due to the absorption of energy by the structure itself.

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Applications for the microlattice metal include using it as materials for baggage compartments and floors on the planes.


This article was co-authored by Dereik Madrid (Guest author)