There is definitely no limit to science: a group of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Cambridge are proving this by successfully a whole new kind.
The material in question has the astonishing peculiarity of being as solid as titanium ... and yet as light as wood. It can also float on the water. While waiting to find a scientific name, researchers have simply given it the name of "metal wood".
The scientists' research and their astonishing creation have been the subject of an exciting article in Scientific Reports.
How did the researchers do it?
The article in Scientific Reports reveals that to make this famous "metal wood", the researchers deposited tiny plastic spheres of just a few hundred nanometers in width suspended in the water. The liquid then evaporated, giving way to spheres that piled up in a perfectly ordered way.
The researchers then used electroplating to cover the entire surface of the spheres with nickel. Then the spheres were dissolved with solvent, so that there remains only the nickel network.
The process is simply ingenious. The problem is that the manufacturing process is quite complex and only produces a small amount of metal wood.
The best of wood and metal
At the same time solid and ultralight, the metallic wood combines perfectly the best of the wood and the metal. But that's not all, because as the researcher James Pikul explains, this innovative material also has the cellular structure of wood.
"Cellular materials are porous. If you look at the grain of the wood, that's what you see: thick, dense pieces designed to hold the structure, and porous parts designed to support biological functions, such as transporting to and from cells. "
The potential of such a material is simply enormous, whether for the manufacture of smartphones or cars. Scientists have only been able to produce stamp-size metal wood for the time being, but they are still working on a way to perfect the production process so that they can produce more.
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