The world has a new lightest material: graphene aerogel

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posted on Apr, 4 2013 @ 07:26 AM
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Zhejiang University News


A research team headed by Professor Gao Chao have developed ultra-light aerogel – it breaks the record of the world’s lightest material with surprising flexibility and oil-absorption. This progress is published in the “Research Highlights” column in Nature. Aerogel is the lightest substance recorded by Guinness Book of World Records. It gets its name due to its internal pores filled with air. In 1931, American scientist Kistler first produced aerogel with silicon dioxide, and nicknamed it “frozen smoke”. In 2011, HRL Laboratory, University of California Irvine, and California Institute of Technology collaborated in developing nickel aerogel with a density of 0.9 mg/cubic centimeter, the record lightest material at that time. It couldn’t even cause deformation on dandelion flower fluffs. The picture of nickel aerogel was selected as one of the top ten pictures of Nature. Deeply impressed by the picture, Prof. Gao Chao asked himself: is it possible to challenge the limit with new material?



Dvice Article


First there was aerogel. Developed in 1931, "frozen smoke" held the title for world's lightest material for more than eighty years. And at 96 percent air, its easy to see why. Last year aerographite jumped into the number one spot. At six times lighter than air, one cubic centimeter of the stuff weighs just 0.2 milligram. Aerographite was heralded with much fanfare when its discovery was first documented, but its reign was to be a short one. This month, a team of scientists at China's Zhejiang University went after — and broke — the lightness record set by aerographite. Their discovery is a spongy substance made from freeze-dried carbon. They've dubbed it graphene aerogel, and it weighs in at a tiny 0.16 milligram per cubic centimeter. That's only twice as dense as hydrogen.


O.k. well this certainly is an interesting read to start the morning. Scientists have created, using a combination of Graphine and Areogel, the worlds lightest material to date. While that's cool and all, the really cool part is the practical applications that could come from this, as mentioned in the above articles. Beginning with, but not limited to, the high absorbancy of the lattice. Because of this high absorbancy it could be used to help contain and clean up oil spills quickly and efficiently while also allowing you to recycle the oil and lattice after the job is complete.

I've had some trouble finding information on this, while a few tech sites have posted something about this in the last couple weeks, most are just the same article reprinted or rephrased with little to no new information added. The full article explaining the discovery is unfortunately hosted on "Nature" which kindly charges $199 for a yearly subscription or $8 for the PDF. If it is printed elsewhere I have been unable to find it yet.




posted on Apr, 4 2013 @ 07:32 AM
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reply to post by looneylupinsrevenge
 

Good find, I enjoy all the graphene threads. I wonder what a ton of this stuff would look like, in size. And if we had a ton of it, could it be squished up into a ball and floated? Didn't know ''Nature'' charges so much for its internet connect, that type of thing is going too far. I hope someone finds more articles on this and posts a few pics (a pic of a ton of it!). Thanks for the thread.



posted on Apr, 4 2013 @ 08:03 AM
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From the moment i saw areogel i wanted a .... box of it to play with.

Graphine version is only a fraction lighter than the previous stuff, but if its better in anyway i must have it!


imagine getting a massive block of this, or perhaps several and doing some juggling on godzilla scale



posted on Apr, 4 2013 @ 12:40 PM
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Originally posted by Biigs
From the moment i saw areogel i wanted a .... box of it to play with.

Graphine version is only a fraction lighter than the previous stuff, but if its better in anyway i must have it!


imagine getting a massive block of this, or perhaps several and doing some juggling on godzilla scale


Good imagery! Someone should work up a cartoon or an animated video of this. Star, imaginary flag, and geese for you!



posted on Apr, 5 2013 @ 05:41 AM
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I wonder just how big a pile of graphene areogel would it take to weigh up to one Ton? I'm betting it would be a literal mountain of the stuff to get a ton.

I wonder though, considering this contains Graphene, which is electrically conductive, I wonder if there would be a way to use this to form new lighter weight circuitry for cell phone or computers or even future space shuttles or space stations. Or if it would be to impractical because of structure of something else.



posted on Apr, 5 2013 @ 07:48 AM
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reply to post by looneylupinsrevenge
 


A cubed metric tonne would be 39.68 meters width/length/height


I think..
0.16mg per centimeter cubed is also 16 grams per meter cubed.
so 1,000,000 grams (metric tonne) / 16 = 62,500 meters cubed which is around 39.68 meters per side!

Not that i can lift a tonne by myself anyway... but with sides 40 meters across the wind would blow it away before i even tried!!






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