Dept: Gray Matter
Project: Arc melting
Time: 30 minutes
DABBLER | | | | | MASTERAbout a century ago, having no television for entertainment, a famous French chemist named Henri Moissan decided to see what would happen if he stuck two carbon-graphite electrodes into an insulated box and ran a lot of electric current through them. He figured if he trapped and concentrated the heat produced by the arc he struck, he might be able to do something neat with it. (Yes, scientists get paid for thoughts like these.)
Moissan’s hunch was right—boy, was it right. He quickly found that with temperatures reaching 5,000
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.