Science: Atom-Poisoned Metals

The structural materials in an atomic bomb need not be long-lasting; they haven't much future, anyway. But one of the biggest problems in designing an atomic power plant is finding materials that will maintain their strength indefinitely against atomic bombardment. In the current Journal of Applied Physics, Dr. J. C. Slater of Massachusetts Institute of Technology describes the damage that fast-moving atomic particles do to solid substances, especially metals and alloys.

Nearly all solids, he explains, are made of atoms bound together in regular, crystalline "lattices"—something like pool balls set up in a...

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