By David Crane
david (at) defensereview (dot) com
Image(s) Credit(s): Boeing and HRL Laboratories
May 17, 2022
Speaking of Boeing products, and Boeing aircraft, specifically, Boeing’s designed the “lightest material ever made” for aircraft called the Microlattice, and it’s pretty cool. Boeing has this to say about it:
At 99.99 percent air, it’s light enough to balance on top of a dandelion, while its structure makes it strong. Strength and record-breaking lightness make it a potential metal for future
Reads pretty good. Anyway, it’s no secret that we here at DefenseReview (DR) are big fans of advanced materials science and metallurgy, so the Microlattice ultra-lightweight metal structure technology is righ up our alley. Boeing makes it sound like the Microlattice can revolutionize aircract construction, which includes military aircraft construction.
According to our research, the actual discovery was made by HRL Laboratories, a research institute that’s contracted to conduct research and development (R&D) work for Boeing. Manhattan Gold & Silver has a nice description of what the Microlattice actually is, and its potential for improvement:
The prototype of Microlattice is made of small, interconnected hollow nickel tubes with a wall thickness of just 100 nanometers. These hollow tubes and 3D open-cellular polymer structure result in a material that is 99.99% air and 100 times lighter than Styrofoam – but with the rigidity of metal and a high capacity for compression and impact absorption. Plus, replicating the Microlattice design using a material other than nickel could improve these properties further.
HRL Laboratories research scientist Sophia Yang says that the inspiration for the Boeing Microlattice is bone, as bones are strong AND lightweight, thanks to them being rigid on the outside, hollow on the inside, and featuring a lattice-type construction.
Company Contact Info:
Boeing Phantom Works
P. O. Box 2515
Seal Beach, California 90740
Karen M. Fincutter
Boeing Military Aircraft Communications
HRL Laboratories, LLC
3011 Malibu Canyon Road
Malibu, CA 90265-4797
Email: [email protected]
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