Chinese scientists say they have developed the world's lightest material, lighter than air, which could play an important role in tackling pollution.
The material dubbed graphene aerogel or carbon aerogel, developed at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, weighs just 0.16 milligrams per cubic centimeter, a sixth that of air, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Friday.
The material, derived from a gel with the liquid component replaced by a gas, is easy to manufacture and has strong oil-absorption properties, its developer says.
"Carbon aerogel is expected to play an important role in pollution control such as oil spill control, water purification and even air purification," Zhejiang researcher Gao Chao said.
Current oil-absorbent products can absorb about 10 times their own weight in organic solvents -- the newly developed carbon aerogel can absorb up to 900 times its own weight, researchers said.