Science: Peril from Superplastics?

Microscopic carbon fibers pose a threat

The new super lightweight, super strong materials are here. Made of plastics reinforced by extremely thin strands of carbon, they are already being used in everything from aircraft parts to golf clubs and tennis racquets. Industry planners also have their eyes on hundreds of other products that could benefit from the versatile materials. But now warning flags have been raised about a troublesome effect of the fibers in the superplastics. Federal officials are so concerned that they have quietly ordered a high-level inter-agency study to decide how to reduce the potential hazard.

Because the new composite materials...

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