It’s been more than four decades since this nation ventured beyond the confines of its own atmosphere. Men have walked on the moon, and we’ve built and put into orbit around the Earth a full-time laboratory. Moreover, we’ve successfully launched repeated Space Shuttle missions to resupply and re-staff that laboratory research project. All of this has come at high research and development costs, as well as the cost of human lives. Nevertheless, the knowledge and resulting materials and technology that have been gained have made it all worth it.
The space program’s demands for materials that perform in environments unlike those of Earth have lead to technology that touches nearly every part of our existence. Many of the products we enjoy today, from freeze-dried food to rugged fabrics, are an indirect result of the space program. These so-called spin-offs often end up developing lives of their own, expanding in ways that until now were only dreamed of.
Cronidur 30 Steel
One such technological advancement is the development of Cronidur 30, a stainless martensitic steel for heavy-duty service components that is used in the Space Shuttle program as bearing steel for jet/rocket engines. The chemical composition of Cronidur 30 is 0.25 to 0.35 percent carbon, 14 to 16 percent chromium, 1 percent silicon, 1 percent manganese, 0.85 to 1.1 percent molybdenum, 0.5 percent nickel, and 0.3 to 0.5 percent nitrogen. It can be said, then, that Cronidur 30 is nitrogen alloy steel, with exceptional corrosion resistance. This steel bears a similarity to French X15TN steel, which also has a similar but somewhat lower (0.3 percent) nitrogen content.
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