Boeing designed what they say is “the lightest metal ever.” Microlattice is 99.99% air, which makes it light enough to float like a feather, while remaining as strong as the metal itself.
The breakthrough comes from the structure of the material, inspired by human bones. This 3D open cellular polymer is composed of a lattice of interconnected hollow tubes, whose walls are 100 nanometers thick. This makes them 1000 times thinner than a human hair.
The cellular architecture enables the lightweight metal to support materials heavier than itself. It is able to absorb a high level of energy and return to its original shape after significant compression.
Microlattice offers great possibilities for the aerospace and automotive industries. Boeing will soon introduce it in fuselage construction to cut down weight and increase fuel efficiency.