You may have heard of aerogel before. It’s hailed as the world’s lightest solid material and is called “frozen smoke” thanks to the translucent properties of the material. Scientists have devised a way to make the material even lighter using carbon nanotubes.
The new aerogel material is called the multiwalled carbon nanotube (MCNT) aerogel. The material has practical purposes too. Scientists think that it can be used in sensors to detect pollutants and toxic substances, inside chemical reactors, and inside electrical components.
Making aerogels out of carbon nanaotubes is hard to do apparently and the team that made the new material was able to do so using a new method. The used a wet gel of pristine MWCNTs and then removed the liquid component from the wet gel. The product they are left with is an aerogel monolith with a density of 4mg/cm3.