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Fusion power seeks super steels
Scientists say an understanding of how the Twin Towers collapsed will help them develop the materials needed to build fusion reactors.
New research shows how steel will fail at high temperatures because of the magnetic properties of the metal.
The New York buildings fell when their steel backbones lost strength in the fires that followed the plane impacts.
Dr Sergei Dudarev told the British Association Science Festival that improved steels were now being sought.
The principal scientist at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) said one of the first applications for these better performing metals would be in the wall linings of fusion reactors where temperatures would be in a similar range to those experienced in the Twin Towers' fires.
The key advance is the understanding that, at high temperatures, tiny irregularities in a steel's structure can disrupt its internal magnetic fields, making the rigid metal soft.
"They didn't want any gravity convection currents to show up in the alloy shaping process."