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This article was published on October 12, 2015

    Boeing’s new metal is 99.99% air and can be used for almost anything

    Boeing’s new metal is 99.99% air and can be used for almost anything
    Owen Williams
    Story by

    Owen Williams

    Former TNW employee

    Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their word Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their words friendlier. In his spare time he codes, writes newsletters and cycles around the city.

    A new video released by Boeing this week touts that the company has invented a metal that’s “99.99 percent air” for future use in airplanes, cars and other objects.

    The metal is a microlattice, made up of a series of tubes in a criss-cross pattern and air gaps between each intersection. The microlattice is one of the lightest materials known to man and Boeing says it’s almost ready to go.

    The metal can be compressed to high levels without breaking, and absorb more energy than normal metals making it incredibly flexible for a wide range of applications.

    For example, the video says that if you dropped an egg off a building you’d need about three feet of bubble wrap to stop it from breaking, but with the microlattice metal, you’d need an incredibly small amount to absorb the force of the drop.

    Boeing didn’t say whether it plans to use the new metal in the short term, but the video mentions that it would be useful in future plane structures for removing weight and increasing fuel efficiency.

    Lightest. Metal. Ever. [Boeing]