Sometimes, you find the answer before anyone conceives the question. In 1963, lab workers at Dutch chemical company DSM accidentally made a fiber that they turned into Dyneema, a plastic that is 15 times stronger than steel but lighter than water. DSM did little with it for decades, but in late 2001, airlines suddenly needed bulletproof cockpit doors. Dyneema soon became a hot commodity and the newfound revenue has DSM exploring ways to use the material in items such as mooring lines for tankers and elevator cables.

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