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"It's hard to tell stories about critters that are not human. John W. Campbell tried it, in "Twilight," and everybody says it's a wonderful story, and nobody ever reads it twice."
- Jerry Pournelle

Plasteel  
  Extremely tough form of steel, stabilized with stravidium fibers grown into its crystal.  

Plasteel is best known in sf for its use throughout the universe of Dune, particularly if it is important that the object (like a door) stand up to repeated blows. However, Herbert was not the first sf writer to use the term.

The passage, two paces deep, opened through a heavy door into a square office lighted by golden glowglobes. Jessica passed her hand across the door as she entered, was startled to identify plasteel.

Paul stepped three paces into the room, dropped his pack to the floor...

The door behind Paul slammed open. He whirled to see reeling violence--shouting, the clash of steel, wax-image faces grimacing in the passage.

With his mother beside him, Paul leaped for the door, seeing Idaho blocking the passage, his blood-pitted eyes there visible through a shield blur, claw hands beyond him, arcs of steel chopping futilely at the shield...

Then Kynes was beside Paul and they threw their weight against the door... Kynes indicated the cabinets against the right-hand wall, said: "This way." He crossed to the first cabinet, opened a drawer, manipulated a handle within it. The entire wall of cabinets swung open to expose the black mouth of a tunnel. "This door also is plasteel," Kynes said.

"You were well prepared," Jessica said.

"We lived under the Harkonnens for eighty years," Kynes said.

From Dune, by Frank Herbert.
Published by Putnam in 1965
Additional resources -

Although the word is most associated with Dune, Herbert used it a decade earlier in Under Pressure:

What we need is a dielectric as tough as plasteel.

Harlan Ellison also used it in Trojan Hearse, published in 1956.

There was a momentary silence, then the plasteel-armored guards fired at the spot.

The word "plasteel" predates the Dune novels (and Ellison's work). During World War II, aluminum was not available to civilians, due to its importance to the war effort. For certain applications, like steel ice trays, some form of metal was needed that did not rust. Manufacturers used steel coated with plastic to prevent rusting; the combination was called "plasteel" by the company that patented the process in the early 1940's - Plasteel, Inc.

Thanks to Bill at Plasteelcorp.com for help with this one.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Dune
  More Ideas and Technology by Frank Herbert
  Tech news articles related to Dune
  Tech news articles related to works by Frank Herbert

Plasteel-related news articles:
  - Plasteel? UM's New Ultrastrong Nanocomposite
  - Two Plastics Merge To Create 'Metal'

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