Monday 6 February 2012

Fashion, Science & Technology: World’s Lightest Material

Kind of clearing some of the older possible entries these days, hope you don't mind.

At Christmas, I was walking in UNIQLO and saw this amazingly light down jacket, whether the design is nice or not really depends on your personal taste but inarguably it has got to be the lightest down jacket by far!

Image from Uniqlo

Not sure if they still have stocks after the recent cold weather in Hong Kong (in fact, the cold weather sweeps across the entire Northern Hemisphere, with 63 associated deaths in Japan and coldest morning ever recorded of minus 32.6 degrees Celsius in Esashi, Hokkaido).

Having seen this down jacket, I was reminded of a slightly outdated news which dates back to 21st November, 2011, which talks about the successful invention of the lightest man-made material.

Image from
Quoting from the news article from New Technology News,

"It’s about one hundred times lighter than Styrofoam, with a density of 0.9 mg/cc (Milligram per Cubic Centimeter) and has extraordinarily high energy absorption properties. This is a new type of metal which is 99.9 percent air, as show in the image it can sit on top of a dandelion fluff without crushing it. This pioneering research was carried out by a research engineering team at the University of California, Irvine, HRL Laboratories and the California Institute of Technology."

Exactly what this material is made from has not been disclosed, and the suggested uses of "this metal in thermal insulation, battery electrodes and products that need to dampen sound, vibration and shock energy" does not sound exciting enough to me in any ways, but I'm continuously impressed by the release of amazing achievements in science and technology in recent days. Who knows? Maybe one day we really can wear Zero-weight clothes and shoes!!!

Northern Hemisphere -- (n) [U]
Northern Hemisphere is highlighted in yellow
Image from Wikipedia

Dandelion -- (n)
Image from Wikipedia
fluff -- (n) [U] small loose bits of wool or other soft material, or the down (= soft new hairs) on a young animal

Uniqlo Page 4-5

Northern Hemisphere @ Wikipedia

63 dead as lowest-ever temperatures hit Japan @ CNTV

World’s Lightest Material @ New Technology News

The 'Eiffel Tower of micro-architecture' @ YouTube

Dandelion @ Wikipedia