Superlight material




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  1. #1
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    Superlight material

    Article here:

    World's Lightest Solid Takes Inspiration From Eiffel Tower - Yahoo! News

    Now, the article itself is cool, but when I read it, they had an unrelated photo of Christopher Walken as the header, instead of the pictures of the material itself.

    Apparently, Mr. Walken thinks the article needs more aerogel...
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    Maybe he thinks the Wood case needs more aerogel too.


    I know some guys at MIT who had been working on organized shape clusters for materials like this on the nanoscale. They'll be really interested in following exactly how the structures were arranged and patterned, though I'm sure they're already following this.


    But ya know this gives me an idea for a sci-fi story about objects created out of exotic materials than can rearrange themselves when exposed to certain energy frequencies and which can shed mass when exposed to other energy frequencies so that in certain states the material is lighter than air, but in certain other states (or when brought into contact with certain other materials) their mass is transferable to the objects they are in contact with.

    In other words inc certain states and in certain conditions all of their mass is potential rather than actual, and so in those states these materials would be incredibly light, but when brought into contacts with other matter, or when exposed to certain energy frequencies they can rearrange their structural pattern and their mass becomes greatly augmented (and so the materials become extremely dense, rather than light) and they can "interlock their mass with the mass of whatever matter they are contacting."

    As an example, you would have a material of which you could build huge structures that you could basically float to wherever you wished. In the "potential mass state" they would be close to being massless and the molecules, although patternable, would not be dense enough or well structured enough to form truly force or shock resistant structures. However when these exotic materials are exposed to certain energy frequencies, and brought into contact with, let's say a building foundation with a properly alloyed latticework, then the object rearranges structure, forms incredibly resilient molecular bonds, and becomes immensely dense (mass becomes kinetic rather than potential) and it interlocks it's (kinetic and real) mass with the surrounding material it touches.

    You could build a mammoth building of such materials, float it to a properly prepared foundation, then emplace it, and lock it into position and then it would instantly transfer it's mass from a potential to a kinetic form and would interlock mass with the surrounding materials. That is to say it would both absorb and transfer mass with the surrounding materials.

    It would be near massless (and thereby have very little density, almost all mass would be potential) in constructed state, but at "set-state" it would have "inter-locking mass" which it shared with the materials it touched.

    Actually it should have three mass-states. Free Mass (potential mass), Set Mass (as it reconfigures itself and it's own potential mass converts to kinetic mass), and Interlocking Mass (as it interlocks mass with the surrounding materials).

    Yeah, an alien race armed with such matter could build impressive structures which nevertheless would be easily detachable from their foundations and then buildings could be entirely mobile. They would be earthquake and disaster resistant in two different settings (interlocked and free - they could resist earthquakes, or you could float them above the ground), easily reconfigurable and restructurable, and be mobile even to the point that you could create structures very easy to put into orbit or to build in orbit when all mass is potential. And if you could neutralize mass by conversion of objects into Free Mass states while in motion then you could go a long way towards mitigating the forces involved in high acceleration and deceleration in space.

    This is just a sci-fi concept of course, but if you could develop materials exotic enough I can see mass being transferable. Don't know about mass being rendered potential, but I can seeing it being interlocked (that's natural anyways depending on the structure of the matter) and transferable.

    It also makes me wonder about "interactive mass." Is it possible to share and transfer (whole) mass (and density) states between interconnected but separate objects?

    Well, I'm going to bed. Been very busy all week and I'm tired. Interesting article Dan. Thanks for posting.

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    The speculation about making things like this with diamonds caught my attention. What could you do with "diamond foam?"

    Diamond has all kinds ot interesting properties, like being non-stick, hard, etc., but what would it do in it's aerogel form?
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    Well, it depends a bit on what they mean by "diamond". Diamond, as we understand it, is hard, but brittle, and doesn't have really hefty tensile strength. It has fracture planes that snap easily.

    Other carbon forms, however, do have great tensile strength. So, if they are using "diamond" to refer to structures of carbon in a descriptive sense, we can't say.

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    Assuming they actually mean diamond and not buckminsterfullerenes, there are all kinds of possibilities.

    Diamonds are very non-stick, are lipophilic and hydrophobic, are good thermal conducors, and, depending on type, can be electrically semiconductive OR insulators. How much of that would hold true in a lattice form, though...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack7 View Post
    But ya know this gives me an idea for a sci-fi story about objects created out of exotic materials than can rearrange themselves when exposed to certain energy frequencies and which can shed mass when exposed to other energy frequencies so that in certain states the material is lighter than air, but in certain other states (or when brought into contact with certain other materials) their mass is transferable to the objects they are in contact with.
    The Mass Effect videogames play with similar concepts in their backstory (as the name implies). Almost all advanced technology in that setting is based on a rare exotic element which creates a mass-affecting field when electricity is passed through it - increasing mass within the field with a positive charge, and reducing it with a negative charge.

    So you get things like FTL travel, by reducing a spacecraft's mass to negative values, or unlimited-ammo weapons, which fire tiny projectiles carved off a lump of metal and project mass-effect fields around the bullets in-flight to make them weigh as much as regular bullets (or more).

    The series doesn't exploit the concept to anywhere near its fullest, mostly using it as a hand-wave to allow a variety of space-opera elements to work within the setting, but it's handled fairly well.

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    The Mass Effect videogames play with similar concepts in their backstory (as the name implies). Almost all advanced technology in that setting is based on a rare exotic element which creates a mass-affecting field when electricity is passed through it - increasing mass within the field with a positive charge, and reducing it with a negative charge.

    So you get things like FTL travel, by reducing a spacecraft's mass to negative values, or unlimited-ammo weapons, which fire tiny projectiles carved off a lump of metal and project mass-effect fields around the bullets in-flight to make them weigh as much as regular bullets (or more).

    The series doesn't exploit the concept to anywhere near its fullest, mostly using it as a hand-wave to allow a variety of space-opera elements to work within the setting, but it's handled fairly well.
    Very interesting Mark. Thanks for the heads up on that.

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