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German researchers develop aerographite; lightest material yet has potential application in electrodes

Researchers from the Technical University of Hamburg and the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel have jointly developed an ultra-lightweight carbon microtube material called Aerographite. The material—currently the lightest known, features a hierarchical design enabling ”remarkable” mechanical, electrical, and optical properties, the authors said in a paper published in the journal Advanced Materials.

SEM images showing important feature of Aerographite morphology: Native interconnections on former template sintering points. These SEM results depict the intact and fractured junctions of hollow graphitic shells. SEM shown here originate from 3 different CVD-processes and template morphologies. Future experiments will also investigate the influence of bridging density on mechanical and electrical properties of Aerographite. Credit: Mecklenburg et al. Click to enlarge.

The first experiments with Aerographite electrodes confirm its applicability.

The material is synthesized using a novel single-step chemical vapor deposition synthesis based on ZnO networks.


  • Mecklenburg, M., Schuchardt, A., Mishra, Y. K., Kaps, S., Adelung, R., Lotnyk, A., Kienle, L. and Schulte, K. (2012), Aerographite: Ultra Lightweight, Flexible Nanowall, Carbon Microtube Material with Outstanding Mechanical Performance. Adv. Mater., 24: 3486–3490 doi: 10.1002/adma.201200491



This could be an import step towards lighter higher performance future EV batteries, specially for larger (100 Kwh) units required for long range EV limos.

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