Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ultralight squishy metal bends like rubber

A new metallic material has surprising properties: it's almost as light as air and can bounce back into shape after being compressed. Created by Tobias Schaedler and his team from HRL Laboratories, you can watch it get squished then regain its original form in this video.
To create the material, the team used a molecule that changes properties when exposed to light.  By exposing it to ultraviolet beams through a grid-shaped mask, they produced a lattice framework. Then, the template was coated with nickel and phosphorus before being etched away. The resulting material, made up of tiny metallic tubes, doesn't get deformed when squeezed, behaving almost like rubber.
Because of its properties, the substance should have a range of applications, such as thermal insulation and use in electronic parts.
If you enjoyed this video, check out life-like cells made of metal or a super-slippery material inspired by a carnivorous plant.


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