Scientists, these days. They’re constantly trying to one up each other. Surpassing the previous record holder for being the lightest solid material ever created, graphene aerogel is seven times lighter than air and 12% lighter than aerographite, the previous record holder.

The material is light enough that a blade of grass or a couple of flower petals can hold up over a cubic inch of it.

graphene aerogel

Graphene aerogel barely weighs 0.16 milligrams per cubic centimeter, and oddly enough, it’s so spongy that it can absorb 900 times its weight in oil at 68.8 grams per second. The team that developed the material thinks it will be used to clean up oil spills in the future.

Most of a block of this stuff is air since it consists of single-atom layers of graphene that are supported by carbon nanotubes. What a trip.

It might also find purpose as insulation, and it might possibly even be the key to lighter, high-energy-density batteries. The researchers, based in Zhejiang University, continue to explore its potential. Know more.