With parts from microwave ovens bought at a discount store, Jim Hwang is trying to change the steel industry.
Hwang, an engineering professor at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, has built a small iron ore smelter that’s about six times faster than a conventional blast furnace at reducing iron oxide to iron, and then making steel.
In his laboratory, Hwang can produce steel in minutes, when normally it would take hours. His goal is to build a larger microwave smelter that can create a ton of steel in about an hour, at half the normal cost.
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