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E. Better Steel? Not Interested

Narrator: This is Science Today. Metals expert Gareth Thomas of the University of California, Berkeley has invented a new steel that's lighter and stronger than conventional steel and resists corrosion much better too. It's easy to make, says Thomas -- just modify conventional methods a little bit in order to control cooling the molten steel more tightly. The result is a metal with a dual atomic structure.

Thomas: And that combination of structures gives you a composite on a microscopic scale that has these superb properties.

Narrator: Thomas says the problem is that no U.S. steel maker is interested in turning out enough of the new steel to test it on a large scale.

Thomas: It's true in general that I think some of the newer plants in Japan certainly pay much more attention to these questions of control and plowing back funding into the plant and having good pilot plant facilities. We don't have a pilot plant as far as I know in the U.S. And I took a sabbatical leave some time ago -- I went all around the world and checked every steel industry. It's a little bit sad.

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