Science: Solids out of Powders

The most radical innovation in metallurgy since the Bronze Age is hidden inside the shiny 1942 models rolling out of U.S. automakers' plants this week. For perhaps 5,500 years man has started off with molten metal, which he has then cast, forged, rolled, extruded, hammered, machined, hobbed, drilled, milled and ground. But in the new General Motors cars there are some 25 parts, and in the new Chryslers 30, which started as fine metallic powders and were simply pressed into solid shape.

The new powder metallurgy's products are often much cheaper than those...

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