Osmiridium Sounds Like Science Fiction (But It's Not!)

This amazing alloy sounds like something from science fiction - or even scientifiction - but it's real.

Feast your imagination on these science-fictional alloys! Like herculoy from The Howling Bounders, a 1949 Magnus Ridolph story by the incomparable Jack Vance:

A heavy concrete pill-box now rose on the border of the blighted acreage, a windowless building reinforced with steel and set on a heavy foundation. A hundred yards from the pill-box a ten-foot cylindrical block stood anchored deep into the ground. An endless herculoy cable ran from the pill-box, around a steel-collared groove in the block, back into the pill-box, where it passed around the drum of an electric winch, then out again to the block.

There are many more, if you're fascinated by imaginative materials design. Consider ultron from Armageddon: 2419 A.D. (1928) by Philip Frances Nowlan, permalloy from Fugitives From Earth (1939) by Nelson S. Bond, magnalloy from The Cave of Horror (1930) by S.P. Meek, helio-beryllium from Out Around Rigel (1931) by Robert H. Wilson, steelonium from Ralph 124c 41 + (1911) by Hugo Gernsback and plasteel from Dune (1965) by Frank Herbert.

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