Innovation: Ultralight Metallic Micro Lattice

Scientists have developed a solid, metal material that can sit atop a dandelion flower without crushing its seeds or spherical structure – the Ultralight Metallic Microlattice is known to be the lightest material ever created.

The cross-hatch aesthetic, the reasoning behind the materials strength, comprises hollow metallic tubes that are layered up leaving small spaces of air in between each metal thread – it’s individual fiber walls are apparently a thousand times thinner than that of human hair.

Research took place in the Irvine and HRL laboratories of the University of California, and scientists have since discovered that the architecture of the lattice, with a density of only 0.9mg/cm3 makes the material energy efficient, giving great potential for design products that are prone to easy damage or not shock-resistant, such as smartphones.

In recent months we have seen innovators Senseg create E-Sense – a form of haptic technology, already adopted by technology giants, Toshiba – and will soon enable consumers to ‘feel’ touchscreens when a range of products is released.  Both of these breakthroughs give us insight into the incredible capabilities of man-made materials and technological innovations that we could begin to see incorporated into everyday products in the not too distant future.

Further reading on this extraordinary material breakthrough can be found in Science magazine.  Additionally, read our recent In The Air report on Miracle Materials which looks at innovative designers and scientists utilizing natural bacteria and algae for medical and aesthetic purposes.  – Samantha Fox

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