Episode 3: Making Materials in a Microwave
Play • 42 min

In this episode we learn about an unexpected approach to processing materials: the common kitchen microwave. While most people only think about the microwave when it’s time to reheat some leftovers, there has been a surprising scientific interest from materials researchers in the last few decades. In fact, microwave processing can achieve pretty remarkable feats such as extremely rapid sintering and heat treatment of materials as well as providing a means for microstructural control in alloys. There have even been cases where people have used it to weld and join materials together. In this episode we explain how microwave heating works in the first place, some of the past successes with this technique and we interview Dr. Christina Birkel who uses this as a critical component to her lab dedicated to the synthesis of novel new materials.

Articles for further reading:

  • “Microwave Processing of Materials and Applications in Manufacturing Industries: A Review” [LINK]
  • “Non-conventional synthesis and magnetic properties of MAX phases (Cr/Mn)2AlC and (Cr/Fe)2AlC” [LINK]

Thanks to Kolobyte and Alphabot for letting us use their music in the show!

If you have questions or feedback please send us emails at materialism.podcast@gmail.com or connect with us on social media: Instagram, Twitter.

Materialism Team: Taylor Sparks (co-host, co-creator), Andrew Falkowski (co-host, co-creator), Jared Duffy production, marketing, and editing), Ramsey Issa (editing assistance).

Keywords: microwave MAX phase processing synthesis

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