Boeing invents lightest metal known to date

In October 2015, Boeing revealed it has manufactured a revolutionary new metal that could lead to a whole new generation of planes and spaceships.

Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company, claims that its new microlattice design is the lightest metallic structure ever made. It’s 100 times lighter than Styrofoam, light enough to sit atop a dandelion.

The material is constructed of interconnected hollow tubes, each with a wall 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. Crucially, its design allows it to completely recover from compression exceeding 50% strain and absorb high level impacts.

To demonstrate the metal’s strength, Boeing makes the analogy that if you dropped an egg off a 25 story building you’d need about 1m of bubble wrap to prevent it from breaking. Whereas you’d only need a small amount of microlattice metal to absorb the impact.

While Boeing is for the moment keeping mum on whether it plans to use the new metal in the short term, the strength and record-breaking lightness do make it a potential metal for future aeroplanes and other vehicles.

At ShapeCUT, we like to stay on top of what’s happening in the steel industry, from advancements in metal processing tools and techniques, to the state of the steel industry globally. That’s why we’re so excited to see where Boeing’s new invention will take us.

For more than 20 years we’ve been working with this incredible material, delivering quality steel cutting. We have 5000+ tonnes of plate stock in house and a range of modern oxy-cutting, laser and high-def plasma cutting machines. We also offer services such as metal folding, bending and machining.

Contact ShapeCUT today for a fast quote.