(109c) Application of Microwave Energy for Processing of a Variety of Materials: An Overview

Agrawal, D. - Presenter, The Pennsylvania State University

Microwave energy has been in use for over six decades in diverse fields such as communication, medicine, chemistry, polymers, food processing, rubber vulcanization, drying, and materials processing. Microwave processing can provide distinct and substantial advantages over conventional thermal processes, including: energy efficiency, quality improvement, simplicity, speed, and eco-friendliness.

Most of the research over the last 20 years has focused on ceramics processing. However, only modestly successful lab samples emerged from such studies. Today, due to specific new developments, microwave processing is commercially viable in many new areas. Successes in microwave heating/sintering of oxide ceramics have been extended to cemented carbides for cutting and drilling applications that demonstrate improved performance. More recently, microwave processing has been shown to efficiently sinter, melt and braze metallic materials, often exhibiting better mechanical properties. This presentation will give an overview on these findings and discuss the commercial prospects and implications of the developed technology.