Lighter than air? Nearly. A newly developed substance called Aerographite is now the "lightest material in the world," constructed of 99.9 percent air.
According to New Scientist, the material looks like a "wisp of smoke" up close and has a density less than 0.2 milligrams per cubic centimeter. This means the sponge-like tubes are about 400 times lighter than Styrofoam, and can spring back into place without being prompted.
In 2006, the world's lightest stuff was Aerogel, an insulating material used by NASA to collect samples of comet dust, according to Phys Org. And this last November another micro-lattice material was dubbed champion, maintaining a density 100 times lighter than Styrofoam. According to The Verge, this metallic material was also nearly "1,000 times thinner than a human hair."
But researchers from Hamburg University of Technology and the University of Kiel have obliterated the previous records with Aerographite. New Scientist reports the latest lightweight substance can "support 35 times more weight than the same mass of Aerogel," meaning this material can support 40,000 times its own weight.
"We were looking for three-dimensionally cross-linked carbon structures, and we discovered this material," said Karl Schulte, from the Institute for Composite Materials located in Germany.
And to boot: Aerographite also conducts electricity, which has New Scientist speculating that this new discovery could be used for ultra-lightweight batteries.
What are some other possibilities for the lightest material in the world? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section or on Twitter by tweeting at @HuffPostTech.
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