Students at MIT have developed a parabolic solar dish capable of melting steel. It consists of an array of 10 inch by 12 foot curved mirrors, and is a crucial step in the race to provide cleaner, cheaper energy.
The MIT team believes that their lightweight, inexpensive device holds the promise of revolutionizing the power industry and providing solar power to even remote regions.
The completed mirror focuses enough solar energy at its focal point to melt solid steel. The energy of typical sunlight is concentrated by a factor of 1,000. This was showcased during a demonstration, in which a team member held up a board, which instantly and violently combusted, when brought within range of the focal point.
By directing the dish at a more practical target -- water piped through black tubing -- steam can be flash created, offering instant means of producing energy or providing heating.
Awesome. I just built one myself, and I've got to say, it's pretty damn powerful. I just put a chair in front of it alongside a giant "FREE MAKEUP" sign, and now I'm waiting for my girlfriend to get home.
UPDATE: Success -- single again!
Hit the jump for a picture of the completed dish and a wooden beam catching fire.
Thanks Lee, now lets use one to burn the faces off all the undesirables at the bar