Dumb Alloy: A metal that has been hardened or otherwise modified by the addition of impurities (Carbon is a popular element but other elements can be used as well). Because the added atoms are the wrong size for the metal lattice, they tend to position themselves at flaws and weakpoints, where they pin the defects in place.
Smart Alloy: instead of raw atoms, simple reactive nano-devices are used. These are able to respond to and interact with the metal as conditions allow, thus producing a far harder alloy.
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 10 September 2001.