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Metal foams made of grains and pores only nanometers or billionths of a meter wide are lighter than Styrofoam, enough to float on water. The extraordinarily high surface areas these unprecedented foams possess suggest they could serve as excellent platforms for chemical reactions that for instance help generate electricity or remove pollutants, experts told UPI's Nano World.

The methods used for making metal foams have until now been limited mainly to a handful of metals such as aluminum. These produce relatively dense, heavy foams or low-density foams with large pores and low surface areas. The new and simple technique energetic materials chemist Bryce Tappan and a multidisciplinary team of his colleagues at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico developed produce unprecedented ultra-low density foams with pores as little as 10 nanometers wide from metals scientists could not foam in the past.


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