This article was originally published on July 20, 2012.
Scientists from Kiel University and Hamburg University of Technology have blended porous carbon tubes together in three dimensions at nano and micro level resulting in the formation of the lightest material. The new material is named as “Aerographite”.
The ductile material weighs only 0.2 milligrams per cubic centimeter which makes it 75 times lighter than Styrofoam. The material is stable, very strong and conducts electricity. Its is jet-black in color, non-transparent and absorbs light rays.
Professor Lorenz Kienle and Dr.Andriy Lotnyk decoded materials atomic structure using a transmission electron microscope (TEM). Aerographite is highly resilient and is capable of withstanding both compression and tension. It can be compressed it to 95% and can also be brought back to its original form without any structural failure.
In a carbon gas atmosphere, zinc oxide is supplied with graphite atomic layers and results in formation of networks. Hydrogen gas is then passed to react with oxygen in zinc oxide and emits steam and zinc gas. The remains are porous tube-like carbon structured Aerographite.
It could help purify ambient air. Aerographite can also be applied to non-conductive plastics to transform without gaining weight. In water purification, it could act as ab adsorbent for water pollutants.