Materials for a Safer World

Safe, 2006, 1, pp. 39 - 45
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Almost every mate rial we encounte r in our daily lives can, in the hands of the materia ls engineer, be used to provide some form of safety. Mate rials that are now commonplace were often firs t used in top-secret milita ry, space, medical, or spo rts research labs. Teflon, for example, began as a protective coating in the space indust ry before being appl ied to saucepans and frying pans in our kitchens. Technology's progression f rom indust rial applications to consumer produc ts can now ta ke as little as five years instead of decades . Politics has played its part so that military and space agencies are act ively looking for ways in which the ir expertise can benef it everyone. Medica l indust ries, responding to the fac t that people are living longer, are adopting a preventative attitude to health care. The sports industry has long recognized health and fitness as a lifest yle issue, with its attendant need fo r special products. In recent years, this indust ry has formalized links with the fashi on indust ry, with designers like YohjiYamamoto and Stella McCartney creating special products for various sportswear brands.
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