Do You Know the 6 Lightest & Strongest Materials on Earth?
Architects are constantly looking for materials that can enhance their projects by making them stronger, faster to build, more energy efficient or environmentally friendly. In this article we focus on the top lightest and strongest materials on earth and the way they can be incorporated into a building.
One of the oldest materials on this list is Carbyne which was first proposed by Adolf von Baeyer in 1885. It is twice as stiff as graphene and is created through strings of carbon chains.
Unlike carbyne, aerographite is a synthetic foam that can be produced in a variety of shapes and has a high density of 180 grams per cubic meter. It currently has not been tested in the field of architecture, however, it has been suggested as a material that will help to clean oil spills.
Seven times lighter than air and 12 % lighter than aerographite, aerographene also known as aerogel has become the world's lightest material. The material is created using a sol-gel process so the solution of graphene and carbon nano tubes are poured into a mould and then freeze dried. Currently the material is proposed as an efficient method to clean up oil spills but we can expect to see it infiltrate architecture soon enough.
The material was first introduced in 2011 and since then has been experimented with to see if it can be further optimized to provide increased strength. The material was inspired by the structure of human bones and is made up of interconnected tubes that are 99.99% holo. Currently scientists are exploring the viability of using this material for future space missions since it would make the departure lighter.
While for years the world's strongest natural material was spider silk, it is now claimed by the teeth of limpets. While studies are still determining the exact composition responsible for its strength, an article in the Royal Society's journal interface suggests that the strength is because of its tightly packed mineral fibres. The aim is to combine the fibres into man-made composites to create stronger structures.
Researchers at MIT have successfully turned two-dimensional graphene into a 3D structure that is now believed to be even stronger than its 2D counterpart. The material which is made from pure carbon has 5 percent the density of steel and is approximately 10 times as strong as steel. The only issue that is currently posing a problem with graphene is that despite demonstrating an abundance of strength, graphene is expensive. This is why researchers are continuing to work on ways to enhance its value by increasing its strength. You can read more about graphene here