In this study, we present freestanding nanoporous magnesium as a novel lightweight material with high potential for structural and functional applications. Thus far, the high reactivity of Mg with oxygen and aqueous media prevented the fabrication of nanoporous Mg. First, in order to synthesize nanoporous Mg, we fabricated a bicontinuous nanocomposite consisting of interpenetrating Mg and non-Mg phases by liquid metal dealloying. The non-Mg phases in the nanocomposite protect Mg against corrosion. Second, we etched the non-Mg phases from the nanocomposite, leaving nanoporous Mg, using HF solution. This process is advantageous because the nanoporous Mg was passivated by a MgF2 layer during the etching. Our approach is very flexible, and we demonstrate that versatile microstructures of the nanoporous Mg—e.g., nanoscale bicontinuous network, hierarchical, or plate-like structures—can be designed for the given needs. More importantly, these nanoporous Mg samples can readily be exposed to air without being harmed by corrosion. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
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