Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Microwave Steel: Faster, Cleaner, Cheaper

Date:
January 26, 2004
Source:
Michigan Technological University
Summary:
The same couch-potato technology that pops your popcorn during a TV commercial can now be used to make steel. You shouldn't try it at home, however, since it involves heating the raw materials up to 1,000 degrees Celsius, about the same temperature as molten lava.

The same couch-potato technology that pops your popcorn during a TV commercial can now be used to make steel.

You shouldn't try it at home, however, since it involves heating the raw materials up to 1,000 degrees Celsius, about the same temperature as molten lava.

The feat was accomplished by Michigan Tech researcher Jiann-Yang (Jim) Hwang, who wired together the magnetrons from six garden-variety microwaves into one super-heavy-duty oven and added an electric arc furnace. He then put iron oxide and coal inside. In a matter of minutes, the microwave energy reduced the iron ore to iron, and the electric arc furnace smelted the iron and coal into steel.

The process could give the steel industry the same benefits that a microwave gives the typical family, says Hwang, an associate professor of materials science and engineering and director of Michigan Tech's Institute of Materials Processing.

It's really cheap, and it's really fast.

"With a blast furnace, most of the heat escapes," Hwang says. "It's like the stove in your home, where most of the heat warms your kitchen. It's inefficient. In our microwave, iron oxides can be heated to 1,000 degrees Celsius in one minute, compared to hours for conventional heating."

Microwave technology could cut production costs by as much as 50 percent, Hwang says. In addition to energy savings, it uses coal, eliminating the need for high-cost coke. And the manufacturing process is simple, cutting the number of steelmaking steps in half.

It's also friendlier to the environment, with significant reductions in greenhouse gases and sulfur dioxide emissions.

Industry officials aren't ready to throw their existing technology out the window just yet, but they are taking a close look at the Hwang's invention.

"This could be a promising technology, particularly for helping us reuse byproducts that are currently being discarded," said Mark Conedera, a senior environmental engineer with US Steel Corporation. "We've been supportive of the concept for these value-added uses, and it has significant environmental benefits."

Hwang believes his new technology has the potential to benefit U.S. heavy industry, particularly in the Great Lakes region, where the steel and auto industries are centered.

"A low-cost steelmaking technology would take advantage of U.S. iron and coal resources and could help keep manufacturing jobs in Michigan and throughout the Great Lakes," he said.

Hwang's microwave steelmaking research was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan Technological University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Michigan Technological University. "Microwave Steel: Faster, Cleaner, Cheaper." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 January 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040126073254.htm>.
Michigan Technological University. (2004, January 26). Microwave Steel: Faster, Cleaner, Cheaper. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040126073254.htm
Michigan Technological University. "Microwave Steel: Faster, Cleaner, Cheaper." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040126073254.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) The urban 4x4 is the latest must-have for Chinese drivers, whose conversion to the cult of the SUV is the talking point of this year's Beijing auto show. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) The light-field photography engineers at Lytro unveiled their next innovation: a professional DSLR-like camera called "Illum." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins