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And Now: How to Melt a Rock Using Sunlight

Don’t try this at home, kids.

In this amazing clip, Jem Stansfield, the host of BBC’s Bang Goes the Theory (sort of a UK version of Mythbusters), visits the Solar Furnace Research Facility in Southern France. There a researcher demonstrates the power of intensely concentrated sunlight, using a special furnace that can reach temperatures of 3,500 degrees C (that’s about 6,332° F), and even melt solid rock!

A little background: solar furnaces are devices that concentrate the sun’s rays into a single, powerful focal point. They are usually constructed of curved (parabolic) mirrors, which reflect and focus the light. Potential applications range from solar-powered cookers and barbecues to providers of energy for outer space manufacturing.

For more information and examples, see this page.

2 Responses to “And Now: How to Melt a Rock Using Sunlight”

  1. […] reactor has a window made of quartz that focuses the sun’s rays like a magnifying glass into its core. There the ceria works to catalyze a solar chemical reaction, producing hydrogen and […]

  2. […] reactor has a window made of quartz that focuses the sun’s rays like a magnifying glass into its core. There the ceria works to catalyze a solar chemical reaction, producing hydrogen and […]

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