Ultralight materials are solids with a density of less than 10 mg/cm3, including silica aerogels, carbon nanotube aerogels, aerographite, metallic foams, polymeric foams, and metallic microlattices. The density of air is about 1.275 mg/cm3, which means that the air in the pores contributes significantly to the density of these materials in atmospheric conditions. They can be classified by production method as aerogels, stochastic foams, and structured cellular materials.
The first ultralight materials, aerogel was first created by Samuel Stephens Kistler in 1931.
Graphene foams and graphite foams are examples of stochastic foams.
Structured cellular materials
Structured cellular materials can be remarkably strong despite very low density.
Reversibly assembled cellular composite materials enable tailorable composite materials properties, to the ideal linear specific stiffness scaling regime. Using projection microstereolithography, octet microlattices have also been fabricated from polymers, metals, and ceramics.
The design of the high performing lattices mean that the individual struts making up the materials do not bend. The materials are therefore exceptionally stiff and strong for their weight.
- SS Kistler (1931). "Coherent Expanded Aerogels and Jellies". Nature. 127: 741. Bibcode:1931Natur.127..741K. doi:10.1038/127741a0.
- TA Schaedler; AJ Jacobsen; A Torrents; AE Sorensen; J Lian; JR Greer; et al. (18 November 2011). "Ultralight Metallic Microlattices". Science. 334 (6058): 962–965. Bibcode:2011Sci...334..962S. doi:10.1126/science.1211649. PMID 22096194.
- KC Cheung; N Gershenfeld (September 2013). "Reversibly Assembled Cellular Composite Materials". Science. 341 (6058): 1219–1221. Bibcode:2013Sci...341.1219C. doi:10.1126/science.1240889.
- X Zheng; H Lee; TH Weisgraber; M Shusteff; J DeOtte; EB Duoss; et al. (2014). "Ultralight, ultrastiff mechanical metamaterials". Science. 344 (6190): 1373–1377. Bibcode:2014Sci...344.1373Z. doi:10.1126/science.1252291.
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