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"Looking back through history, I see no evidence for humanity making the best of things, and I think it's a pretty safe bet that's an on-going trend."
- Richard Morgan

Leak Disk  
  Simple device to temporarily close a leak in a spacecraft.  

"But there's still a faint possibility that a big one might go through both walls and make a fairly large hole. Even that needn't be serious. The air would start rushing out, of course, but every room that has a wall toward space is fitted with one of these."

He held up a circular disk, looking very much like a saucepan cover with a rubber flange around it. I'd often seen these disks, painted a bright yellow, clipped to the walls of the station, but hadn't given them much thought.

"This is capable of taking care of leaks up to six inches in diameter. All you have to do is to place it against the wall near the hole and slide it along until it covers the leak. Never try to clamp the disk straight over the hole. Once it's in place, the air pressure will keep it there until a permanent repair can be made."

He tossed the disk down into the class.

"Have a look at it and pass it around. Any questions?"

From Islands in the Sky, by Arthur C. Clarke.
Published by Not known in 1952
Additional resources -

Compare to quartzite leak foil from The Great Dome of Mercury (1932) by Leo Zagat, tag-along balloons from Gentlemen, Be Seated (1948) by Robert Heinlein and plug-ups from Passage at Arms (1985) by Glen Cook.

Another way to plug holes in spacecraft or other constructions in space is to have some sort of material already present in the walls. Compare to alpha inserts from Exiles of the Moon (1931) by Schachner and Zagat, quartzite leak foil from The Great Dome of Mercury (1932) by Leo Zagat, plastifoam from Collision Orbit (1941) by Jack Williamson and self-sealing plastic from Asteroid of Fear (1951) by Raymond Z. Gallun.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Islands in the Sky
  More Ideas and Technology by Arthur C. Clarke
  Tech news articles related to Islands in the Sky
  Tech news articles related to works by Arthur C. Clarke

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