There are only really two types of important problem out there: the first can be fixed with gaffer tape, the second with WD40. It’s an old engineer’s joke that has circulated on the internet for many a year. It plays on the idea that if something out to be moving and isn’t then a low-viscosity, sprayable petroleum product will be the answer whereas if something is moving that ought not to be then it can be bound in place by a high-adhesive polymer-textile composite tape.
In recent times, I’d add a third solution to the world’s problems, Sugru. It’s marketed as mouldable glue and most readers will no doubt have heard of its ascent and widespread adoption among scientists, hobbyists and makers, plumbers, and amateurs and professionals alike, who need to quickly replace a component, fill a hole, adapt a product for a new use all without the need to invest in a 3D printer.
Sugru came to mind this morning in listening to a report on the radio news that the International Space Station (the ISS) has sprung a leak. Apparently, a tiny chunk of space rock, presumably a millimetre or two across has slammed into the body of the spacecraft and punched a hole clean through. The astronauts on board have repaired the damage with thermo-resistant tape. Sounds like the gaffer tape approach to their problem.
But, it also seems to me that while the tape may hold and NASA has announced that the crew are in no immediate danger, such a problem could have been remedied with a little piece of mouldable flexible more effectively. I suppose the issue would be whether or not the makers of that product produce a thermo-resistant, space grade version.