109.02 In chrome-nickel-steel, the primary constituents are iron, chromium, and nickel. There are minor constituents of carbon, manganese, and others. It is a very popular way of thinking to say that a chain is no stronger than its weakest link. That seems to be very logical to us. Therefore, we feel that we can predict things in terms of certain minor constituents of wholes. That is the way much of our thinking goes. If I were to say that a chain is as strong as the sum of the strengths of its links, you would say that is silly. If I were to say that a chain is stronger than the sum of the strengths of all of its links, you might say that that is preposterous. Yet that is exactly what happens with chrome-nickel– steel. If our regular logic held true, then the iron as the weakest part ought to adulterate the whole: since it is the weakest link, the whole thing will break apart when the weakest link breaks down. So we put down the tensile strength of the commercially available iron – the highest that we can possibly accredit is about 60,000 pounds per square inch (p.s.i.); of the chromium it is about 70,000 p.s.i.; of the nickel it is about 80,000 p.s.i. The tensile strengths of the carbon and the other minor constituents come to another 50,000 p.s.i. Adding up all the strengths of all the links we get 260,000 p.s.i. But in fact the tensile strength of chrome-nickel-steel runs to about 350,000 p.s.i. just as a casting. Here we have the behavior of the whole completely unpredicted by the behavior of the parts. (Buckminster-Fuller 1997 :63)
BUCKMINSTER-FULLER, Richard. 1997 . Synergetics: exploration in the geometry of thinking. New York: Macmillan Publishing/Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller.