Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Solar Sinter: Making objects from melted sand using the sun.

In the deserts of the world two elements dominate - sun and sand. The former offers a vast energy source of huge potential, the latter an almost unlimited supply of silica in the form of quartz. Markus Kayser came up with the the idea of a new machine that could bring together these two elements. Silicia sand when heated to melting point and allowed to cool solidifies as glass. This process of converting a powdery substance via a heating process into a solid form is known as sintering and has in recent years become a central process in design prototyping known as 3D printing or SLS (selective laser sintering).

Here is (to me) a gorgeous object Markus has generated and below that is a brief movie demonstrating the process. I found the movement of the melting, bubbling desert sand mesmerizing.

Click image to enlarge

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