On this blog, we often highlight the importance of using lighter materials in aircraft. Less weight means less fuel burned and less CO2 emitted. We’ve covered plastics and ceramic-matrix composites before, but now, recent research by Boeing has resulted in lightest metal structure ever made.
The Boeing ‘microlattice’ could well be the future of aeronautics. The structure is 99.99% hollow and, as the picture shows, is even light enough to balance on a dandelion head. While the ‘3D open-cellular polymer’ structure is certainly light, it is also strong. As you can hear from HRL Labs’ Sophia Yang in the video below, the microlattice’s structure is best compared to that of bone – i.e. that it is light, but not easily crushed.
While it might not be the most appropriate metal for an aircraft’s fuselage, it would be ideal for cabin interior equipment like seat frames or floor panels. Check out Boeing’s video for more on this potentially revolutionary material!