This clear thermoplastic that's used in basically everything
After LEXAN, a polycarbonate developed by GE, was used to create the lunar astronauts' visors, it kind of... took off. In the ‘70s, it was used for Jeep removable roofs; in the ‘80s, it made its way into automotive instrument panels, compact discs, and pathways in the Houston Zoo; in the ‘90s, it made DVDs and relatively tiny Motorola phones possible; and in the 2000s, LEXAN SLX was developed as a next-level, scratch-resistant coating for automotive panels. The stuff even coated the most innovative vehicle since the Space Shuttle: the Segway.
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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. He wishes NASA had developed a way to make his years in braces less terrible.