Hard nut to crack

Published: Sunday 31 August 1997

A fibre-reinforced plastic bolt has been developed in Australia that is stronger than steel. The bolt has been designed for use such as a stabiliser for roofs and walls in underground tunnels. It can also be used in the aerospace industry. It is very expensive to install plastic products in the mining industry -- a major customer for bolts -- since it sheers off cleanly when struck by coal-cutting equipment. The plastic bolt, however, quickly pays for itself through reduced machinery damage and lower coal pollution ( Science Education Newsletter , June 1997).

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