Boeing claims to have invented the world’s lightest metal, a “microlattice” that’s currently being tested for use in future aircraft designs.
Weight savings are crucially important in aircraft manufacturing, since a lighter aircraft requires less fuel, which is airlines’ largest operating expense.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was a breakthrough commercial jet because it used lightweight composite carbon fiber material, rather than aluminum, to generate the best fuel efficiency in its class.
The microlattice looks like a sponge or a mesh, and is simultaneously flexible and very strong, according to Boeing. Details on exactly how much it weighs were not disclosed by the company, and it isn’t ready to be used in any aircraft yet.