Monday, January 19, 2009

From Mars to the Viking Age...

Some things are just too nutty not to share.

It's not really new, but it's new to me.... it's apparently finnicky as hell and not very reliable. *shrugs* just thought you might find it interesting really.

Microwave melting of metals
by David Ried
Research is nearing completion on a system that will allow the melting and casting of bronze, silver, gold, and even cast iron, using an unmodified domestic microwave oven as the energy source. A potential foundry in every kitchen !!

Well, DARCs Gus Gissing got started on our DARC Dirt 'bog ore analog' in a chain that includes Mars and microwaves....

Gus was always interested in Mars (ok - more like ape shit about Mars since he was a kid.) In all those books we dreamed over, lit by flashlights under the covers, were fantastic images of 'cities on Mars'. Often repeated was the line 'using microwaves, astronauts would turn the red iron oxide soil of Mars into iron for building materials.'
Well, it turns out no one had ever really figured out exactly how you might actually do this.
So armed with a microwave banished from the kitchen, Gus set out to see if it actually be done. Along the way he turned himself into the 'Marsian Dirt King', developing and marketing a Mars Dirt Analog to researchers testing landers and rovers.
And yes, working in fire brick crucibles, he actually has made marble sized nuggets of iron inside the kitchen microwave...

Regular readers will have been following our work on a bog iron ore analog - DARC Dirt. Working with commercial oxides prepared for ceramics, it should prove possible to custom blend an analog to match specific natural bog ore chemistries.
Search for 'DARC Dirt'
The most complete report here is 'Ore Analog Composition'

There have been three full test smelts of DARC Dirt One, the most complete report is of the June 2008 smelt.

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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