Date – 2315
Place – Wuhan, China
By the middle of the 22nd century the depletion of mineral resources had become critical. Metals in particular were becoming hard to find and consequently had become increasingly expensive. Alternative materials were in high demand.
In 2278, following further regulation restricting polymer manufacturing, Dr. Ing Arjen Dijkstra working at the Wuhan Institute of Technology proposed the Law of the Conservation of Plastic – like energy, given its permanence and ubiquity, plastic could now neither be created nor destroyed. Further, he argued that it would be foolish to rule out its potential value as a ‘replacement material’, leading to the emergence of make-do-and-mend technologies (MD&MTech) that became adopted as a pragmatic solution to materials shortages.
This object is a gyroscope rotor. Traditionally made from aluminium or titanium, thermoplastic rotors were equally lightweight with good tensile strength. The anchor points on the edge of the plate are thermoset resin. These had previously been made from hardened steel for strength and required highly skilled, precision machining.
By 2300 the entire process had become automated, from the collection, separation and reheating of polypropylene (rotor) through to the milling of the reclaimed resin (directional pins) to the welding of the two component elements.
Gyroscopes like this would have been used in gyrocompasses in shipping and unmanned aerial vehicles a.k.a ‘drones’.
This particular gyrocompass is from the LIDAR drone tasked with remotely 3D mapping the Wuhan Institute of Virology which had been completely sealed under an opaque polycarbonate dome during its decommissioning in 2220.