Researchers from the universities of Illinois, Pennsylvania and Cambridge have developed a unique material - "metal wood", which is as strong as titanium, and at the same time does not sink in water like wood.
Metal Wood was created in several stages. First, the scientists placed tiny plastic balls several hundred nanometers in diameter in water, and then evaporated the liquid. As a result, the balls formed an ordered structure. The next stage is the electroplating of the balls with a nickel layer. And finally, the dissolution of the plastic spheres with a chemical agent, as a result of which only the nickel grid remains.
About 70% of the resulting material is void. However, low density is not the only thing that makes it “related” to wood.
Currently, scientists need about a day to make a piece of "metal wood" the size of a postage stamp. If we develop a technology for obtaining a material on an industrial scale, great prospects for its use open up.
For example, architects could use it to design buildings with a new strength-to-weight ratio, and electronics manufacturers could coat devices with it, providing additional strength without adding weight. It is possible that even cars that fully meet safety standards, but are extremely lightweight, may appear.