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50 Years Ago

Science Past from the issue of December 19, 1959

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LOW-MELTING ELEMENTS MAKE HIGH HEAT MATERIAL — Two chemical elements, both of which will melt in the sun on a hot day, have been combined to produce a material capable of withstanding temperatures up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Gallium phosphide, a yellow compound resembling ground glass, has been prepared from gallium … and phosphorus…. The material may be used in building solar-cell power plants for space stations, and tiny rugged electronic parts for missiles, satellites and space probes of the future. So far the Army Signal Corps has built an electronic diode of gallium phosphide which has withstood temperatures seven times higher than those withstood by the now-used silicon and germanium.

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