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Among the most basic concepts that we learned in Science subject, one that you might remember better than most is that anything denser compared to water sinks in the liquid. No wonder rocks and metals, being denser than water, end up sinking. However, styrofoam behaves differently when it is put in water. The substance floats since it is less dense compared to water. Crude oil is no exception; it stays afloat in ocean given its lower density compared to salt water. Now that we have jogged your memory it’s time to bring in an exception to that rule with the blackest material, Vantablack.
The company responsible for making Vantablack shows how it enables a disk made of aluminium to float in water. It is apparent from the video that neither the water nor the aluminium fancy the situation at hand. The hydrophobic Vantablack coating over the aluminium continues to repel the water away as it tries to bulge up and above the surface of the aluminium. Interestingly, the aluminium emerges fully dry when it is taken out of the water. Unarguably, that makes one wonder just what the heck is going on with this new substance at hand.
Vantablack is actually a special coating that is manufactured using millions of carbon nanotubes. Each of these nanotubes are nearly 20 nanometers by 14 to 50 microns (1 nanometre equals 0.001 microns). Vantablack was able to absorb all but 0.035% of light when it was initially introduced. That is hardly visible to the naked eye. The team of researchers was able to make the substance blacker in March upon which they claimed that a spectrometer could not measure the amount of light it could absorb. The reason for its positive buoyancy is not only attributable to the black color, but also to the extremely low surface area it possesses.