The metallic structure is called microlattice and it is 99.99% air. In fact, it’s so light that it can balance on top of a dandelion. The microlattice takes a queue from nature and mirrors bone structure to gain its strength, rigidity, and lightness. Bones have a rigid exterior but are mostly hollow and porous on the interior, which makes them hard to crush and lightweight at the same time. Basically, this technology allows Boeing to absorb energy in terms of compression. Boeing engineers can design the lattice structure to fit specific needs and, due to its strength, the material can be thinner and more durable as well as saving weight. Which, when it comes to an aircraft, is an enormous advantage.
One can imagine this tech making its way into the construction industry with isolation pads, safer hardhats, uses in heavy equipment, and power tools. Energy absorption is important to our industry and for our men in the field that are using high impact tools on a daily basis.