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"I was involved in a cloning project. .. to send me into outer space along with a lot of other people. Not the whole me - just a hair from my head, while I still had some. I would thus pop up in another galaxy in the distant future."
- Arthur C. Clarke

Plasteel  
  Extremely tough form of steel, stabilized with stravidium fibers grown into its crystal.  

Plasteel is best known in sf for its use throughout the universe of Dune, particularly if it is important that the object (like a door) stand up to repeated blows. However, Herbert was not the first sf writer to use the term.

The passage, two paces deep, opened through a heavy door into a square office lighted by golden glowglobes. Jessica passed her hand across the door as she entered, was startled to identify plasteel.

Paul stepped three paces into the room, dropped his pack to the floor...

The door behind Paul slammed open. He whirled to see reeling violence--shouting, the clash of steel, wax-image faces grimacing in the passage.

With his mother beside him, Paul leaped for the door, seeing Idaho blocking the passage, his blood-pitted eyes there visible through a shield blur, claw hands beyond him, arcs of steel chopping futilely at the shield...

Then Kynes was beside Paul and they threw their weight against the door... Kynes indicated the cabinets against the right-hand wall, said: "This way." He crossed to the first cabinet, opened a drawer, manipulated a handle within it. The entire wall of cabinets swung open to expose the black mouth of a tunnel. "This door also is plasteel," Kynes said.

"You were well prepared," Jessica said.

"We lived under the Harkonnens for eighty years," Kynes said.

Technovelgy from Dune, by Frank Herbert.
Published by Putnam in 1965
Additional resources -

Although the word is most associated with Dune, Herbert used it a decade earlier in Under Pressure:

What we need is a dielectric as tough as plasteel.

Harlan Ellison also used it in Trojan Hearse, published in 1956.

There was a momentary silence, then the plasteel-armored guards fired at the spot.

And in Trojan Hearse also 1956:

T he Agent flickered, wavered, and disappeared. A smell of ozone filled the War Chamber.

There was a momentary silence, then the plasteel-armored guards fired at the spot. Angry bursts of flame erupted from their rifles and a section of the wall blistered and exploded inward. Shards of plasteel wall material showered the assembled War Council.

Ellison also used it in Wanted in Surgery (1957):

The woman snapped a finger at the taker, and a heavy plasteel door slid back for them.

The word "plasteel" predates the Dune novels (and Ellison's work). During World War II, aluminum was not available to civilians, due to its importance to the war effort. For certain applications, like steel ice trays, some form of metal was needed that did not rust. Manufacturers used steel coated with plastic to prevent rusting; the combination was called "plasteel" by the company that patented the process in the early 1940's - Plasteel, Inc.

Thanks to Bill at Plasteelcorp.com for help with this one.

Compare to herculoy from The Howling Bounders (1949) by Jack Vance, ultron from Armageddon: 2419 A.D. (1928) by Philip Frances Nowlan, permalloy from Fugitives From Earth (1939) by Nelson S. Bond, magnalloy from The Cave of Horror (1930) by S.P. Meek, helio-beryllium from Out Around Rigel (1931) by Robert H. Wilson and steelonium from Ralph 124c 41 + (1911) by Hugo Gernsback

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Dune
  More Ideas and Technology by Frank Herbert
  Tech news articles related to Dune
  Tech news articles related to works by Frank Herbert

Plasteel-related news articles:
  - Plasteel? UM's New Ultrastrong Nanocomposite
  - Two Plastics Merge To Create 'Metal'

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