Science: Plastics for Space

When space knowhow increases, says Dr. Carl E. Snyder of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., spacecraft may be built largely of plastics, which will fare better than metals in the hostile outer world. Snyder and W. B. Cross of Goodyear Aircraft Corp. told an Air Force space conference in Dayton that many metals "boil away" slowly in the near-perfect vacuum of space. Plastics, which are made of long molecular chains linked and tangled together, are less volatile than metals, and therefore should last longer.

Some plastics, Snyder admitted, will surely be weakened by the ultraviolet light that abounds in space. But others...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!