Science: Sticky Vacuum

The two pieces of copper clung together as if welded—but there was no adhesive between them. As they explained how they turned the trick, scientists of the National Research Corp. gave U.S. technology a practical and powerful boost into space.

Metallurgists have long known why metals do not bond themselves together when they come in contact in the earth's atmosphere. Exposed to air, they have already become covered with oxide films or a thin layer of gas that keeps the metals from actually touching. National Research scientists were interested in what happens when metals touch in the hard vacuum high above the...

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