Carbon nanotubes do it all, don’t they? To date they’ve strengthened other materials, solved crimes in the Mystery Mobile and can claim they’ve taken part in creating the world’s lightest material. Well, at least two of those are true anyway.
The latest accomplishment involves the “lightest material” mantle, which was previously held by an aerogel, but not one as light as the one created by researchers at the University of Florida!
This new aerogel has a density of four milligrams per cubic centimeter and can be deployed to a whole host of world-changing scenarios. It can detect pollutants and toxins, for example, or be integrated into electronics to make them lighter and more insulated.
To create the new, lighter and otherwise amazing “Ultralight Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube Aerogel”, the researchers started with a “wet gel” comprised of a “well-dispersed pristine MWCNT” and used that to create a honeycomb structure that was only 100 nanometers thick. The final result and transformative process is shown in the image up top, while a more complete explanation beyond my feeble attempt is available in the ACS link that follows. [ACS Publications via Engadget]