Graphene aerogel claims title of world’s lightest material

A new aerogel made from graphene looks set to claim the title of the world's lightest material.

Created by a research team from China's Zhejiang University, the aerogel has an ultra low density of just 0.16mg/cm³, lower than the density of helium and of the aerographite material which until now held the crown.

According to the researchers, the material can absorb up to 900 times its own weight in oil, making it attractive for cleaning up oil spills. It is also said to be very strong and extremely elastic.

To create the aerogel, the researchers turned to the wonder material known as graphene.

The team, led by Professor Gao Chao, used a new method known as freeze-drying that involved freeze-drying solutions of carbon nanotubes and graphene to create a carbon sponge that can be arbitrarily adjusted to any shape.

"With no need for templates, its size only depends on that of the container," prof Chao explained. "A bigger container can help produce the aerogel in a bigger size, even to thousands of cubic centimetres or larger."

The researchers are now exploring other possible applications for the material, and say it could have potential as a phase change energy storage insulation material, catalytic carrier or efficient composite.

Laura Hopperton

This material is protected by MA Business copyright
See Terms and Conditions.
One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not.
For multiple copies contact the sales team.


Supporting Information
Do you have any comments about this article?

Your comments/feedback may be edited prior to publishing. Not all entries will be published.
Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

© MA Business Ltd (a Mark Allen Group Company) 2021