Also, from my understanding, the most interesting thing about this material isn't the weight but the manufacturing process. To build the lattice they used a specialized 3D printer which combines the beams from a few directions, cf https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metallic_microlattice
That unlikely ownership is an historical accident: those megacorps each acquired pieces of Hughes Aircraft, which built Hughes Research Labs, now HRL.
This would allow the fabrication of large stiff arbitrarily shaped panels to form monocoque structures. I would imagine that you could even replace large parts of the conventional rib and skin structure of an aircraft with this eventually. The trickiest problem will be transmitting loads through panel joints.
It doesn't seem stronger than foam during compression, so the fact that it returns to its original shape seem pointless. What am I not seeing?
Bad examples like that make it difficult for me to trust such videos.
Carve a perfectly egg-shaped hole into a pair of styrofoam bricks, then tape them together with the egg inside. You'll beat 99% of the other kids who were trying to protect their egg with soft materials.
Source: I tried using wet sponges and carpet underlay, but was soundly beaten by a kid who carved a hole in a pair of styrofoam bricks.
The MESA rules were 14" diameter max, no liquids, no parachutes, dropped from 60'. I cut a pattern of holes in cardboard and sprayed the foam over the eggs (lubricated with PAM), pulled the cardboard off, lubed them up on that side, and sprayed the other side. I trimmed the whole container to a sphere a little over 14" diameter and then compressed it as much as I could (Literally having someone stand on top of it) and wrapped it tightly in tape.
My best record using this method was 32 eggs with 100% survival.
I wonder if you could convert all the deceleration into compression using water though.
Edit - Just trying to understand the moral distinction between a light 'material' and a light 'structure' here. This seems more like a structure to me?
Take a 2'x2' 1" thick piece of foam. Laminate some fiberglass onto both sides of it. This is basically how modern boat hulls are constructed. Extremely light, rigid, insulated and durable.
WAG, but if it would allow you to replace 1 ton of foam on a 40' yacht, that's one ton of extra cargo/amenities you could carry instead and maintain the same water line. Or alternatively you could produce a faster boat with less wetted area.
I'm sure a real engineer has a better idea of practical applications. But I like cruising yachts so. :-)
Plus, foam provides displacement in case of breaches as a matter of it's nature. This lattice wouldn't provide any displacement, so a small breach would mean you're 2" thick composite hull would fill with water, which would be bad.
maybe fuel tanks shells? having the tank collapse as it's used instead of being filled with vapors would also reduce flammability in general.
But, you're on fire!
Also the perpetual winner for egg drop challenge is jello with uncooked rice mixed.
"It's really exciting to work with things that we make that eventually go into real product that lots of people use". It's sad on so many accounts bu it sounds like a political debate to me. might as well say "It's cool to do stuff with some stuff that could be used to create stuff for people to to stuff with", and it's going to cointain just as much info.
To me this isn't a new material any more than aluminum honeycomb is a new material. The material is aluminum or steel. They are then fabricated into honeycomb sheets or lattices.
I don't see it as discovering a new material but rather fabricating an existing material in a different way.
Other examples of this might be aluminum truss used in staging and the use of trussed steel in bridge building.
What is a material?
When you make steel all you are doing is forming various crystal structures, and grains. Martensite, Ferrite Austenite, Cementite, etc. They are all the "same" material (iron and oxygen and carbon), yet if you figure out a new way of arranging their shapes "just so" you can say you invented a new type of steel.
This is the same way - they figured out a new way of arranging the atoms, so it's a more or less a new material.
(I do see your point of course, and this is more macroscopic than grains in steel, but I think it's not unreasonable to call it a new material.)
Raw Material vs. Fabricated Material.
To me this distinction makes the universe come back into alignment. Honeycomb Aluminum is a fabricated material made from aluminum. Denim, a fabricated material made from cotton. A lighting truss, fabricated material from aluminum. The microlattice product from the article is a fabricated material from steel.
Works for me.
I get what you're saying about trussed steel, but I think that's really just getting at the point that categorical distinctions are rarely cut-and-dry.
Fill it with hydrogen and seal it.
Wrapping it with carbon fiber and filling it with Hydrogen seems like a better option.
There's nothing interesting here except the manufacturing process used to make such a thing.
With an egg drop, you pretty much just have to worry about the integrity of the shell, but with a person there are a lot more factors at play. The first example I can think of off the top of my head is in MVAs. Modern cars are designed to absorb a lot of the momentum from collisions and minimize injury to passengers, but that isn't always enough to save lives.
You're not a solid body. You are basically a big blob of salt water that happens to contain some hard bones and ligaments mixed in with vulnerable organs. Even if you can protect the blob, those organs can still move around inside it.
Let's say you slam into another car head-on. The frame of your car absorbs a good bit of the energy, but your body still "wants" to keep going forward. Then your seat belt stops your thorax, but your heart and major vessels keep going and slam into your ribs, sternum, etc. Best case scenario, you'll walk away with a minor myocardial contusion and possibly develop a dysrhythmia, but if you're not so lucky, your descending aorta may actually be ripped by your ligamentum arteriosum and you'll mostly likely bleed out.
Your head isn't as restrained as your thorax in a car, but even if it were your brain can still move around and slam into your skull (which can lead to traumatic brain injuries like concussion, diffuse axonal injury, cerebral laceration, etc.).
Part of the reason why you can't just take the egg result and scale it up is called the square-cube-law.
They make some awesome software that let's you create wither flat or volumetric lattice structures from existing 3D models.
I sense an alternation between pop and technical language, i.e. "lighter" and "denser," and “thickness and “thinner.”
It looks like we are looking at a composite material here. Scales, densities, and thermodynamics typical to the nano world do not easily apply to the STP world where 25C and 1Bar reign king.
Since the microcosm denizen is a tube, what are median wall thicknesses and tube diameters?
Did the redacter here also work for Apple to measure their new products as “thin?” If so, they may qualify to be an Apple genius.
A significant source of error beyond 1 sig fig is going to be the weight of ink/paint and the weight of the pop tab on the top. Also cans are not filled 100% with liquid, so there is air space (it has 12 ounces of liquid, but its a 12.something volume tank)
Something interesting to think about is fluid dynamics, a foam like this would stop sloshing at almost no weight penalty. If you like the idea of tin foil thickness gas and water tanks, then this would seem to be a requirement for that technology.
So, that's about 1.5% aluminum by volume. So a soda can is about 98.5% air by volume.
 : http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=15+grams+of+aluminum+to...
So would filling your gas tank with sponges; however, with that much surface area exposed to the liquid, I suspect it would be really hard to get the majority of the liquid back out.
I personally like seeing non-mainstream or controversial topics on HN, even if I don't agree with them.