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...

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