One of my students came in to my room after school yesterday, and gave me a small cube of Aerogel, one of the world’s lightest solid materials. It is amazing stuff! Even though it is called “gel”, it is actually a dry, translucent solid…feels sort of like styrofoam. http://www.aerogel.org/
The way they make this is by replacing the liquid in gels with gas. It is an ultra-porous, ultra-lightweight solid that can support up to 1000 times its mass, and is also a great insulator! Check out the video below, where a piece of Aerogel protects a Hershey’s kiss from a blowtorch:
You can buy a little bit of this amazing material from Amazon and play around with it: http://www.amazon.com/Educational-Innovations-Aerogel/dp/B008MB1R0Q/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1347998261&sr=8-3&keywords=aerogel
What are some other amazing solids you have heard of? What are some properties of solid matter than you know of?