Just as the microwave oven has revolutionised the way many people approach cooking, microwave reactors are set to revolutionise the world of chemistry.
MICROLAB was developed by CSIRO’s Dr Chris Strauss. It’s a continuous microwave reactor in which combinations of chemicals are pumped, under pressure, through a microwave chamber. Because chemicals react more quickly when they are heated and under pressure, reactions that used to take days to perform can now be done in minutes.
The principle can also be applied on a larger scale, paving the way for more efficient production of pharmaceuticals, food flavours and even plastics.