Micro Architecture Design Is So Strong It's Silly
Materials Scientists have designed a micro-lattice structure that’s 100 times better than its closest competition presaging a sea-change in ultra-lightweight ultra-strong materials.
Materials typically get weaker as they get less dense. Pretty obvious right? Lightweight stiffness and strength can be achieved however if you form your desired objects into specific structures like lattices and trusses. This recent design breakthrough was mathematically determined to maximize stiffness yet be as light as possible. That wasn’t the hard part apparently because it took years to turn that geometric structure into a 3D-printed object.
It was worth the wait though because the micro-architected micro-lattice is truly a marvel of engineering. They did tests using various materials like polymers, metals, and ceramics, all of which displayed strength beyond expectations.
For comparison, consider an amazing glass-foam substance called an aerogel. It’s made from a gel that has had all its liquid removed and replaced with a gas. What’s left is a porous crazy-lightweight substance often called frozen smoke. Surprisingly it’s almost preternaturally strong for its weight (comparable to solid rubber with the same volume). It can withstand compression 160,000 times its own weight. As cool as that is, these new micro-lattices blow it away. They have 10,000 times the stiffness. What would you even call something 10,000 times lighter than frozen smoke? Frozen vacuum?
Applications are seemingly endless. Aero-space is a no-brainer since weight and strength are among the key considerations in that field. Imagine cars made out of this stuff. Even small-scale products like batteries could benefit from these materials.
This reminds me of that dart the alien used in the movie Predator. So lightweight and strong it felt weightless. Come check out our darts Predator.
Source: MIT Press Release