The fall has endearing qualities, I suppose. I'm partial to apple cider, and the changing leaves make even the most pedestrian tree look glorious. The temperature reduction will certainly be welcome, as will my mother's awe-inspiring pumpkin pie.
It was perhaps appropriate, though, that we began work in earnest on this, our thermal processes issue, during the blistering July heat wave that swept the country and other parts of the world. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Climatic Data Center, the average U.S. temperature in July was 77.2°F, a not-too-distant second to the record holder of 77.5°F, set back in 1936. Breaking more than 2300 daily temperature records, the heat wave has been blamed for hundreds of deaths, as well as severe crop destruction, and has caused a renewed interest in global warming.
While Mother Nature's extreme temperatures can be devastating, the thermal processes used in the ceramic and related industries are much more predictable, controlled and beneficial. Microwave-assisted technology, for example, combines microwave and radiant heating to provide shorter processing times, better control and more consistent results than traditional radiant heating alone (see "Developments in Microwave Heating Technology").
"High-Temperature Rotary Calcining" provides information on the rotary calcining of a variety of materials, such as ceramic and molybdenum compounds and rare earths, at high temperatures for use in a range of applications. In addition, this month's Product Profile details how transparent tube furnaces enable users to visually check how their process is reacting at operating temperatures.
We're also taking an early-bird look at Tecnargilla 2006 in this issue. The show will be held September 28-October 2 in Rimini, Italy, and exhibitors will showcase their latest technologies for the ceramic and brick industries. Check out "Special Report: Cutting-Edge Global Technology" for all of the details.
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