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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Technology Update

Air Date: Week of January 26, 2001

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Transcript

GRABER: You've heard of the search to turn lead into gold. How about turning pollution into diamonds? This is just what Australian scientists have done. They've developed a device that shoots microwaves at car exhaust. It heats up the exhaust to such high temperatures that molecular bonds break. When the mixture cools, the molecules regroup and turn into less harmful substances. A car's pollution may be reduced by up to 70 percent. But scientists noticed that with the microwave technology, tiny carbon particles would fly out of a car's tailpipe. So they created another device to catch the carbon before it left the car. This one attracts the carbon particles, transforms them into liquid form, then sprays them onto a glass surface. The hardened liquid carbon is actually an industrial-grade diamond, which could be used in applications such as compact discs and coating for lenses. That's this week's technology update. I'm Cynthia Graber.

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CURWOOD: And you're listening to Living on Earth.

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