Microwave Magic Michigan Tech

When Michigan Technological University’s Jiann-Yang (Jim) Hwang (pronounced “wong”) wanted to try out a new idea for making steel, the first place he went was Wal-Mart. Hwang, an associate professor of materials science and engineering and director of MTU’s Institute of Materials Processing, picked up six microwave ovens at the local discount store and brought them back to his lab. With IMP’s research scientist Xiaodi Huang, they took them apart, wired the magnetrons together into one super-heavy-duty microwave, and added an electric arc furnace. Then he zapped a mixture of iron oxide and coal.
When he was done, he had a nugget of pure steel.