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World’s Lightest Material

August 7, 2012

German scientists have created the world’s lightest material, which is also among the darkest.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Ultra-light and ultra-dark. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

German scientists recently created the world’s lightest material.  It’s called aerographite, and it’s made from extremely tiny, hollow carbon tubes.  It’s 75 times lighter than Styrofoam, and four times lighter than the previous record-holder.  Kiel University material scientist Rainer Adelung says the material’s also extremely resilient, and about as black as you can get.

RAINER ADELUNG (Kiel University, Germany):
This is due to the internal structure.  Aerographite is absorbing all the light no matter from which direction you go.

HIRSHON:
These properties could make it useful in electronics.  For instance, it can conduct electricity with very little electrolyte, which is a major contributor to battery weight.  Its pitch-blackness could also help protect semiconductors and other materials from damaging light rays – especially in spacecraft, which are subjected to intense radiation.   I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.

Aerographite, made from these tiny carbon and zinc oxide tubes, is the lightest material ever invented. (TUHH)