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Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:47 AM

Lighter-than-air material discovered

German material scientists from Kiel University and the Hamburg University of Technology have created the world’s lightest material, dubbed aerographite.

One cubic centimeter of aerographite weighs just 0.2 milligrams, which is four times lighter than the previous record holder, 5,000 times less dense than water, and six times lighter than air. Aerographite is so light that it is difficult to work with it in a normal lab. Any small movement in the lab can create winds that blow the material around.

“If you wanted to have one kilogram of this material it would be five cubic metres large. That means a one square metre base, which goes five metres up in the air like a house or tower – that would be one kilogram. You would need about 14 car boots if you wanted to transport this kilogram,” says researcher Matthias Mecklenburg.

Aerographite is a mesh of carbon tubes, each around 15nm in diameter, interwoven at the micro and nano-scale level. Because of its lightness and relatively large surface area, aerographite could enable the creation of much lighter lithium-ion batteries. It could be used for waterproof clothes, for lighter computers, for air and water filtration and also for protective shielding for satellites.


http://www.euronews.com/2012/11/01/lighter-than-air-material-discovered/







?w=300&h=224&h=224

31 replies, 4053 views

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply Lighter-than-air material discovered (Original post)
Ichingcarpenter Dec 2012 OP
DCKit Dec 2012 #1
Ichingcarpenter Dec 2012 #3
DallasNE Dec 2012 #5
Ichingcarpenter Dec 2012 #10
dipsydoodle Dec 2012 #2
Ichingcarpenter Dec 2012 #15
krispos42 Dec 2012 #4
tclambert Dec 2012 #6
LastLiberal in PalmSprings Dec 2012 #14
tclambert Dec 2012 #31
MrScorpio Dec 2012 #7
Democratopia Dec 2012 #8
Lionessa Dec 2012 #9
Ichingcarpenter Dec 2012 #11
littlemissmartypants Dec 2012 #25
Lionessa Dec 2012 #29
Surya Gayatri Dec 2012 #12
reteachinwi Dec 2012 #13
caseymoz Dec 2012 #16
Jeff In Milwaukee Dec 2012 #17
caseymoz Dec 2012 #19
Jeff In Milwaukee Dec 2012 #21
no_hypocrisy Dec 2012 #18
caseymoz Dec 2012 #20
no_hypocrisy Dec 2012 #22
caseymoz Dec 2012 #23
n2doc Dec 2012 #24
DCKit Dec 2012 #26
n2doc Dec 2012 #27
DCKit Dec 2012 #28
NealK Dec 2012 #30

Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:51 AM

1. The hoverboard is cute, but I'm imagining the size of the aerographite helmet...

 

you'd have to wear to lift a person. Marvin the Martian?

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Response to DCKit (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:55 AM

3. aerographite jacket and pants

that you commute with.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:17 AM

5. Wedgie Alert With Those Pants n/t

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Response to DallasNE (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:17 AM

10. The Vladimir Harkonnen'a suit

for getting around in when obese.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:53 AM

2. Is that similar in nature to this ?

Graphene research gets £21.5m investment fund.

Graphene is made of sheets of carbon just one atom thick, and has outstanding mechanical strength and electronic properties.

Manchester University academics Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for demonstrating its properties.

It is hoped that the material will be used in a wide array of industrial and everyday applications.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20846282

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:56 AM

15. Better article on Aerographite

Introduction
What do you get if you make a material from predominantly air entrapped within a very fine structure of porous carbon nanotubes?

You get one of the worlds lightest materials - Aerographite.

Scientists from Kiel University (KU) and Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) have created the new material 'Aerographite' by carefully growing an interlinking chain of Carbon nanotubes within a sacrificial template made from Zinc Oxide. Creating a network of porous carbon tubes three-dimensionally interwoven at nano and micro level.

Weighing in at only 0.2 milligrams per cubic centimetre, Aerographite is officially the lightest material in the world - reported to be 75 times lighter than Styrofoam! Not only is this material extremely light, it is also extremely strong, based largely on the unique properties of Carbon Nanotubes, but also on the innovative structure of the material.

Properties of Aerographite
Aerographite is extremely lightweight but it also has a number of interesting properties. Including:

Electrically conductive
Highly ductile
Compressible
Non-transparent - Jet black appearance
Extremely strong
Is chemically stable


Much More at link

:http://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=6198

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:01 AM

4. Balloons that never lose their lift, and don't waste precious helium? Nice! n/t

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:50 AM

6. So it's about the density of helium.

You'd still need a house-sized piece of it to lift a person, something like 900 times the size of the person.

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Response to tclambert (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:47 AM

14. This is good, because we're running out of helium

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Response to LastLiberal in PalmSprings (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:08 PM

31. I don't think you can substitute it for all uses of helium.

Liquid helium for cooling superconductors is probably not something this could do. It might make really interesting party balloons, though.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:51 AM

7. I , for one, welcome our new nano-scale, carbon fiber tube overlords. nt

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:00 AM

8. Even if the hoverboard was as big as the kid using it, it would only reduce his weight by a sixth,

 

so a long way off from that as a new sport, but still the possibilities of this material are incredible.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:05 AM

9. The images you post are bogus and not in article. That said, please define "air"

 

Are they talking about 'air' at sea level or at 30,000 ft. Air is a pretty broad category with many differing densities IIRC my aero-science correctly.

Nonetheless of my nit picking, pretty cool fabric, I would image it could be useful in some situations, though it sounds like they are having a hard time taming it into a useful product overall if any movement is going to send it off it's intended course.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:18 AM

11. Oh, please

get a life. The photos were a joke

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 01:20 PM

25. The ability to visualize in the abstract

denotes intelligence. Oh please, more science jokes!! Peace. LMSP

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 04:03 PM

29. A legit science article shouldn't be treated as a joke, imo.

 

It's hard enough these days to get folks to embrace REAL science without f'ing it up and trying to turn it into science fiction.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:22 AM

12. Amazing material--opens up all kinds of sci-fi-like possibilities...

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:44 AM

13. Rumor is

 

the idea was sparked when they studied a sample of Dubya's brain.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:07 AM

16. Fascinating: One concern.


What does it do in the environment? What will it do if somebody inhales it?

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #16)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:20 AM

17. I suspect some one would choke on it

The material is a solid.

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Response to Jeff In Milwaukee (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:37 AM

19. What about micro-fragments: dust?


That's what dust is, basically. I've heard that carbon microtubes are rather carcinogenic. I hear about these great nanomaterials and I wonder how we can make any of them safely.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #19)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:49 AM

21. The manufacturing is a concern, to be sure...

Bear in mind that the jury is still out on this, but the preponderance of evidence indicates that carbon nanotubes do pose a health hazard. If freely inhaled, the stuff could be the 21st-century equivalent of black lung experienced by miners. The good news is that we're out in front on this, and safety measures are in place that weren't dreamed of even thirty years ago. Australia has already issued safety guidance and practices.

If you're geeky enough, you can read it here.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:30 AM

18. Just asking, don't know . . . .

Is this the first "solid" that has been categorized as "lighter than air", meaning lighter than helium?

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #18)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:41 AM

20. Air and helium are extremely different. nt

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #20)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:58 AM

22. Thanks for the clarification.

I skipped physics.

Another question: what is air composed of?

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #22)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:42 AM

23. My error: it is lighter than helium



Note: Both oxygen and nitrogen are almost four times as heavy as helium and 15 times as heavy as hydrogen.

So, this material is 1/6th the weight of air, which would make it lighter than helium. Since carbon is three time the weight of helium, however, and this is made of carbon, the lower weight can only be accounted for by much lower volume. I won't attempt the math now (I'm in a hurry) but these carbon atoms must stick together as a solid at a density much lower than air. Simply incredible.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 12:41 PM

24. Unless one evacuates the air (and keeps it out, somehow) it is not 'lighter than air'

In space, maybe then the issue of mass becomes important. But in an atmosphere, this stuff is mostly air, and will not float.
It might have many uses anyway, but Zeppelins aren/t going to be one of them

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Response to n2doc (Reply #24)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 01:45 PM

26. They don't evacuate anything.

 

Air molecules are too large to bunch up inside the tubes (if they fit, at all). Even atoms are mostly empty space once you have electrons orbiting. Think of it as a filter (of sorts) for only the lightest of gas molecules.

I'm going to patent that idea.

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Response to DCKit (Reply #26)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 02:22 PM

27. These aren't solid nanotubes

If they were, they would be the density of graphite. This material is mostly "empty space" wheich is filled with air molecules.
And nanotubes do allow gas into them

In fact, this is one of their uses, as gas sensors.

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Response to n2doc (Reply #27)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 02:33 PM

28. "And nanotubes do allow gas into them"

 

Yes, but which gas molecules are small enough to get into them?

If CO2, CH4, NO2, N2, O2 etc... are too large to enter, then the interior is, by definition, lighter than air. Even the individual carbon atoms making up the "cage" are lighter than the gases they contain.

Think about it.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:03 PM

30. Wow, that's awesome!

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