Metallic microlattice: the unheavy metal

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Boeing is considering using metallic microlattice in future airplanes and yes, it is balanced on top of the head of a dandelion. It’s “approximately one hundred times lighter than Styrofoam” (from HRL Laboratories) – that’s how lightweight this new material is. It is described as an “ordered network of interconnected hollow struts made from a nickel-phosphorus alloy” (from Chemistry World) and was created by HRL Laboratories. It has great compression and energy absorption characteristics in addition to being incredibly lightweight. After 50% compression, it recovers 98% of its original structure with almost no damage (youtube video from Chemistry World, UK). Apparently you could wrap an egg in this material and safely drop it from a 25 story building without breaking it (according to the Boeing website). Research scientist Sophia Yang, with HRL Laboratories, states that the microlattice is 99.99% air and hopes that it can be used in the future for airplane or other vehicle structural components thus saving weight and making them more fuel efficient.

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