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"[Science fiction is ] That branch of literature which is concerned with the impact of scientific advance upon human beings."
- Isaac Asimov

Plastifoam  
  Used to seal large leaks in space craft.  

As far as I know, this is the first instance of the self-sealing or even self-healing material for space craft and vacuum habitats.

Krrrang!

At that loud reverberation, the Venusian turned pasty-yellow...

"That was an alarming sound," Drake admitted patiently. "But the particle that made it was smaller than the head of a pin. It struck three inches of good steel. We have a layer of lead, to absorb the gamma ray, and a seal of compressed plastifoam to save the air if one comes through."

From Collision Orbit, by Jack Williamson.
Published by Astounding in 1941
Additional resources -

Compare to the self-sealing plastic from Asteroid of Fear (1951) by Raymond Z. Gallun and the tag-along balloons from Gentlemen, Be Seated (1948) by Robert Heinlein.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Collision Orbit
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Williamson
  Tech news articles related to Collision Orbit
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Williamson

Plastifoam-related news articles:
  - Michelin Self-Sealing Tires On Ford's Explorer

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