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A. A New Kind of Steel

Narrator: This is Science Today. Some years ago, metals expert Gareth Thomas of the University of California, Berkeley set out to make a new type of steel that would be lighter and stronger than conventional steel.

Thomas: So we developed a steel that met those requirements and which could be produced in an existing steel mill.

Narrator: Thomas then tested the new steel, called Fermar, to see how well it resisted corrosion and found that after one year under extreme conditions, it hadn't corroded one bit. Since it's tougher, lighter and stronger than conventional steel, Fermar would be perfect for use in replacing America's crumbling bridges, buildings and roads, plus other structures such as offshore oil platforms.

Thomas: Tragedy is that nobody is producing it in the United States at the moment.

Narrator: It's not a technical problem, says Thomas. Any steel mill, old or new, can make Fermar by simply controlling the temperature at various stages in the process.

Thomas: So we're only asking the mill that produces the steel to be a little more careful about its temperature control.

Narrator: Right now, Thomas is looking for an American steel mill to make enough Fermar for a full-scale test. For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.