Very few people, if any, probably would have predicted 50 years ago what kind of materials would dominate our technology today. Who could foresee the computer revolution and thus the preponderance of silicon in the electronics industry? How many scientists or engineers prognosticated the laser and its impact on communication, data-processing, data storage, and thus on optical materials? Was there anybody who foretold, 50 years ago, the impact of superalloys, of composites, or of graphite fibers as important materials? Were ceramics not essentially perceived as clay and sand; that is, could anybody anticipate high-tech ceramics, including high T c -superconductors, heat-resistant tiles (for space shuttles), silicon carbide engine parts, etc.? And finally, how many people could visualize 50 years ago the impact of plastics as one of the prime materials of the present day, or an accentuation on recycling and environmental protection?
KeywordsRadioactive Waste Turbine Blade Smart Material Space Shuttle Patent Office
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