Skip navigation
A. The Steel of the Future, Here Today

Narrator: This is Science Today. Imagine a new kind of steel that's lighter and stronger than conventional steel, can be produced using current methods, and is far more resistant to corrosion. It actually exists. It's called Fermar, and it was invented by engineer Gareth Thomas of the University of California, Berkeley. The problem is that so far, no one is using Fermar or even making it commercially. Thomas is somewhat frustrated but not really surprised.

Thomas: Well, I think it's a question of supply and demand. I mean you can come up with something splendid like this...

Narrator: But until the people who design bridges and buildings -- that is, engineers -- start to specify Fermar for the structures they design...

Thomas: ...the steel industry is going to make and sell what it can with the biggest profit. That's why they're in business, I can't argue with that.

Narrator: Thomas is confident that eventually, engineers will recognize Fermar's advantages and call for its use in their design specifications.

Thomas: But it's awfully difficult to break through from the scientific end. Although this is not a scientific curiosity, because it's in fact being produced in one or two steel mills that we've had trial runs on.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.