Metallurgy: Oil from the Medicine Cabinet

Titanium and stainless steel rank high among the glamour metals of modern technology. Because they retain their great strength even when heated to high temperatures, they have countless uses in such space-age products as Gemini capsules and jet engines. They would have countless other applications were it not for one exasperating characteristic: they cannot be used for moving parts that rub against other hunks of titanium or stainless steel. When they are, the pieces simply stick together.

Every oil known to science has failed. As soon as the metals rub themselves clean, molecules begin moving in both directions across...

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