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The need for holding a symposium on Low-Temperature Properties of High-Strength Aircraft and Missile Materials is easy to demonstrate. Until relatively recently, liquefied gases were produced primarily for such commercial applications as steel processing, chemical synthesis, welding, inert atmosphere packaging, medical uses, and refrigeration. These low-temperature liquids could be adequately contained and transported in tanks and piping made from low-strength materials such as annealed stainless steels, nickel-bearing low-carbon steels, commercially pure or low-alloy aluminum, and other materials that are readily weldable and which retain a high order of base metal and weld joint ductility and resistance to brittle fracture at extreme subzero temperatures. However, with the recent advent of nuclear weapons, of high-speed rocket propelled aircraft, and finally, of large cryogenic fueled missiles of intermediate, intercontinental, and interplanetary ranges, it became necessary to employ materials having the highest possible strength to weight ratios in order to meet the design and performance requirements established for these systems. Let us look first at the magnitude of the problem facing the cryogenics engineer. The information contained in Table I regarding the production of liquid oxygen and nitrogen was obtained from the U. S. Bureau of Census while that on liquid hydrogen was obtained from a number of sources. It is unlikely that the Bureau of Census data include the quantities of liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen consumed by the United States missile program since that information is not released by the Defense Department and is not included in commercial production figures.
Head, Convair-Astronautics, San Diego, Calif.