Record of the world’s lightest material refreshed in China
Professor Gao Chao from Zhejiang University managed to make an ultra-light airgel which refreshes the current record of the world’s lightest material with flexible and oil-absorbing abilities. This material is also called as “full carbon airgel” with solid material density of 0.16 milligrams per cubic centimeter which is only 1/6 of the air density. This progress is also recently reported in the Nature magazine.
In 1931, using silica the U.S. scientists made the earliest Aerogel with the nickname “frozen smoke”. In 2011, American HRL Laboratories, University of California, Irvine, and the California Institute of Technology in cooperation made a nickel airgel with density of 0.9 mg / cubic centimeter refreshing the lightest material record at that time. The photo showing the airgel floating over the flower was named the year’s top ten pictures of the “Nature” magazine impressed Gao. “Can a material be created to break this record?”, this idea surrounded Gao’s mind.
Currently, the lab is focusing on the research on adsorption properties of this material. The researchers said, the “carbon sponge” may be the ideal material to be used in insulation, energy storage, catalyst support, oil and sound-absorbing materials, as well as efficient composite.