Many materials are available and commonly used in Eclipse Phase that are rare, theorized, or unheardof today. The following entries note some of the more interesting.
Low-density, solid-state “Frozen smoke” is made by carefully foaming various materials, typically glasses or ceramics, to an ultra-low density state. Aerogel is semi-transparent and light-weight, feels like styrofoam, but acts as an incredible insulator against heat and cold. It is commonly used in habitats.
Artificial diamond is lightweight and super-strong, has an extremely high melting point, and has nearperfect thermal conductivity. This makes it an ideal substance for hardening coated surfaces (armor) and creating super-tough diamond machinery.
Fullerenes are molecular carbon structures (known as buckyballs, carbon nanotubes, and graphene) that are extremely strong (vastly stronger by weight than steel), heat-resistant, and can be either insulative or superconductive. This makes them useful in equipment as diverse as armor, electronics, sensor systems, or the cables of space elevators.
Metal foam is created by adding foaming agents to liquid metals, resulting in extremely lightweightmetallic structures—light enough to float on water. Ideal for habitat construction and floating cities.
Metallic glass are metals highly alloyed to possess a disordered (rather than crystalline) atomic structure with unique combinations of stiffness and strength, making it a good wear surface and alternative to ceramics in armor. It is also useful for its unusual (for a metal) electrical resistance properties.
Metamaterials have unusual physical properties (usually electromagnetic) due to their structure, such as having a negative refractive index. Metamaterials are used to create invisibility cloaks (p. 316), superlenses, phased array optics, and impressive 2-D holograms.
These metallic alloys have extremely high melting points, making them ideal for extremely hot engine systems, atmospheric entry vehicles, and hypersonic craft.
In transparent form, this ceramic is often known as sapphire. Transparent alumina is harder than steel and zero-g casting techniques allow for intriguing transparent construction designs, so long as its poor tensile strength is respected.