Archimedes' Burning Mirror Problem Solved (cont.)
By Christopher Jordan
history of ceramics helps illustrates the point. It is believed that
ceramics evolved with the evolution of the wood kiln and complex
firing techniques. Most stones when placed in a normal fire will not
alter their composition in anyway at all, yet this leap in process
was made throughout the ancient world. There is no doubt that kilns
were eventually used to produce large quantities of potteries.
However, Jordan contends that the first experimental work was carried
out with these mirrors.
some ceramists suggested it was impossible to make ceramics with
sunlight, the technique was demonstrated at an International Ceramics
conference. Despite the production of glazes in minutes as opposed to
hours, the historical concept gained little traction. However, it was
shown that it is easy for craftsmen to expose a range of materials to
very high heats using parabolic dishes.
mirror research followed a similar path to the speculative alchemist.
Metals, rocks, gems, bricks and ceramic paints were just left in the
beam for a few minutes to see what happened. The solar device was
made and techniques were devised to anneal gems, cut stones, fire
pottery, produce ceramics, vaporize, cut and smelt metals in less
time than it takes to fire up a wood kiln. Even kids today appear to
be treading the same path with homemade reflective dishes. This is
not beyond the scope of an ancient craftsman, whose normal methods
involved elaborate kilns and would mostly result in failure. The
inference is that the development of many fields owes a great deal to
the use of this solar technology.