Even small children know better than to put anything metal inside a microwave oven. But automotive engineers at Dana Corp. are doing just that as they look for more efficient ways to heat metals. Normally, metals placed in a microwave oven would reflect the microwaves, thereby damaging the microwave source. Surrounding the metal with microwave-absorbing plasma, however, prevents the microwaves from reflecting, making microwaves a much more sensible heat source. Researchers estimate that using microwaves to heat metal will improve part quality and cut processing times for metal processing. For more information, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/3853-527.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
Sharon Glotzer and David Pine are hoping to create the first liquid hard drive with liquid nanoparticles that can store 1TB per teaspoon. They aren't the first to find potential data stores, as Harvard researchers have stored 700 TB inside a gram of DNA.
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