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World record: Scientists from northern Germany produce the lightest material in the world
Date:7/17/2012

This release is available in German.

A network of porous carbon tubes that is three-dimensionally interwoven at nano and micro level this is the lightest material in the world. It weights only 0.2 milligrams per cubic centimetre, and is therefore 75 times lighter than Styrofoam, but it is very strong nevertheless. Scientists of Kiel University (KU) and Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) have named their joint creation "Aerographite". The scientific results were published as the title story in the scientific journal Advanced Materials on July, 3rd. Today (Tuesday, July 17th) it is presented to the public.

The properties

It is jet-black, remains stable, is electrically conductive, ductile and non-transparent. With these unique properties and its very low density the carbon-made material "Aerographite" clearly outperformes all similar materials. Our work is causing great discussions in the scientific community. Aerographite weights four times less than world-record-holder up to now", says Matthias Mecklenburg, co-author and Ph.D. student at the TUHH. The hitherto lightest material of the world, a nickel material that was presented to the public about six months ago, is also constructed of tiny tubes. Only, nickel has a higher atomic mass than carbon. "Also, we are able to produce tubes with porous walls. That makes them extremely light", adds Arnim Schuchard, co-author and Ph.D. student at Kiel University. Professor Lorenz Kienle and Dr. Andriy Lotnyk were able to decode the material's atomic structure with the aid of a transmission electron microscope (TEM).

Despite of its low weight Aerographite is highly resilient. While lightweight materials normally withstand compression but not tension, Aerographite features both: an excellent compression and tension load. It is able to be compressed up to 95 percent and be pu
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Contact: Jutta Katharina Werner
j.werner@tuhh.de
49-404-287-84321
Kiel University
Source:Eurekalert

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