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.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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