Have you ever seen a piece of metal float like a feather? Engineers at Boeing have created a new metal microlattice that is 99.99 percent air, but strong enough that the aerospace company envisions including the material in future aircraft to add strength and reduce weight. Boeing announced this new material with a short promotional video.
This “3D open cellular polymer structure” was created in a way that mimics human bones. While strong and solid on the outside, our bones are practically hollow on the inside, with a similarly open cellular structure which adds strength to the whole system. Boeing’s microlattice works in much the same way. The material will easily compress to absorb energy and then return to its original shape providing durability.
All of this durability is found in a structure that seems almost lighter than air. In the video below, you can watch research scientist Sophia Yang easily blow a small piece of the microlattice off of her hand, and watch as it floats to the floor, much like a leaf or feather.
Provided the material is inexpensive and easy to produce, it could be perfect for multiple applications in not only aerospace but also automotive, or even recreational capacities. Aerospace is the most obvious, since weight is at a premium. The lighter an aircraft is, the less fuel is necessary to send it hurtling around the world. This microlattice could theoretically reduce weight considerably while retaining strength and durability. That would be a huge deal in an airplane where weight really matters.
Check out the video below, and tell us what you think in the comments below, or on your favorite social media site.