Science: Wartime Technology, Dec. 21, 1942

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There was much wartime news last week from the technological fronts:

> Plastic petroleum, developed by Gulf Oil for business machines, now lubricates the magazines of the Oerlikon 20-mm. rapid-fire gun. Reason: it stays soft, sticks to metal at arctic and tropic temperatures.

> Paper pipe, which needs no priority number, may replace steel casing in oil drilling. Made like a mailing tube of resin-filled paper, it is hard, stiff but not brittle, so light a man can carry 70 feet of the three-inch size under one arm.

> U.S. ersatz materials are often better than the products they replace. Samples exhibited at Chicago's National Chemical Exposition: an Army raincoat that weighs 1½ Ib. less than the old model, saves 1¾ Ib. of rubber; plastic buttons for uniforms; synthetic bristles, tetered like natural hog hairs, for paintbrushes.

> Wickwire Spencer Steel Co. of New York City is producing an airplane propeller with wood blades (saving metal) and variable pitch (saving gasoline). Fully automatic, it needs neither auxiliary power nor manual setting, adjusts itself for most efficient flying at all speeds and altitudes.

> "Glass eyes" for gun sights, binoculars and other military instruments are ground ten times faster than by hand on new machines designed by American Optical Co. of Southbridge, Mass. Diamond-impregnated tools replace the loose abrasives formerly used.

>Camouflage paints for storage tanks and factories, which repel infra-red heat from the sun almost as well as metallic and light-colored paints, are now available. Made in dull, earthen colors, the new paints do not show in infra-red photographs made by observation planes.