Electromagnetic Pulses Cut Through Steel in Milliseconds

Illustration for article titled Electromagnetic Pulses Cut Through Steel in Milliseconds

You need to cut up some chunks of steel. Mechanical tools are prone to wearing out and lasers are just too expensive, so what do you use? Fast-cutting electromagnetic pulses, what else.

Researchers have figured out that they can modify existing electromagnetic pulse technology and use it to cut hard steels about seven times faster than with a laser and at only a fraction of the cost of other methods. That's not even the crazy part though:

The impact pressure [of the pulse] on the steel is approximately 3,500 bar, which equates to the weight of three small cars on a single fingernail.


Three cars on a single fingernail. Three cars. One fingernail. Forget cool buzzing sounds from mechanical tools and the pewpewpew of lasers. That description alone makes this the coolest cutting method I've heard of today. [Phys Org]

Photo by Gerald Edwards

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I did some telecommunications work a few years ago at a company that used some sort of electromagnetic cutting machine. They couldn't understand why their phones went crazy and their network got slow whenever they used the thing.