Boeing develops lightweight ‘bone structure’

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It’s 99.9 per cent hollow and claims to be 100 times lighter than Styrofoam, so could microlattice be the future for aeronautical design?

Boeing has released a video showing off the weight and strength on this revolutionary breakthrough, and saying it is one of the strongest but lightest materials ever—so light that it can rest on top of a dandelion without destroying it.

Microlattice is a 3D open-cellular polymer structure made up of interconnected hollow tubes, each with a wall 1000 times thinner than a human hair.

Inspired by the structure of bones, the material was originally developed in 2011 by Boeing’s HRL Laboratories.

‘One of the main applications we’ve been looking into is structural components for aerospace,’ says Sophia Yang, research scientist of architected materials at HRL Laboratories.

‘When I get on a plane and I’m leaning against the sidewall panel and putting my luggage in the stow bin or I’m walking along the floor panels, I think the microlattice could be used in one of these situations.

‘In the future the material could help Boeing save a lot of weight [and] make the aeroplanes more fuel efficient.’

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