German scientists from Kiel University and the Hamburg University of Technology have discovered aerographite, a material six times lighter than air.
A team of German scientists from Kiel University and the Hamburg University of Technology have developed a remarkable new material dubbed "aerographite" which is 6 times lighter than air and 5,000 times less dense than water.
Aerographite is composed of interwoven mesh carbon tubes; it is created by heating zinc oxide crystals to 900 degrees Celsius. 99.9 percent of aerographite is made of air. It possesses amazing flexibility and can regain its original shape after being molded. Even more interesting, the material is an electrical conductor.
Researchers believe aerographite could be conducive to the creation of lighter lithium-ion batteries. It may also prove a promising material for lighter computers, air and water filtration devices, protective shields for satellites and even waterproof clothing.
It's no surprise aerographite is difficult for scientists to work with, it weighs only 0.2 milligrams per cubic centimeter. In order for scientists to study this material there must be no air movement in the room.
“If you wanted to have one kilogram of this material it would be five cubic metres large. That means a one square metre base, which goes five metres up in the air like a house or tower – that would be one kilogram. You would need about 14 car boots if you wanted to transport this kilogram,” explains scientist Matthias Mecklenburg.
The findings on aerographite were published in Advanced Materials last July.