The lightest material ever made has been produced by a team of scientists in China, a Chinese university announced. The ultra-light substance, called carbon aerogel, has a density of 0.16 milligrams per cubic centimeter, Zhejiang University in China said in a statement. One sixth of the substance is air.
Carbon aerogel, made of granite and carbon nanotubes, can also absorb up to 900 times its own body weight, the university said. “Carbon aerogel is similar to carbon sponge in structure,” professor Gao Chao, who headed the team of scientists, said in the statement. “When an aerogel of the size of a mug is put on Setaria, the slender grass will not bend.” Chao said aerogel could provide solutions to problems such as pollution control and cleaning up oil spills.
First carbon aerogels were first developed in the late 1980s.