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The key piece is the 12-foot dish, which the team assembled in several weeks. The design is exceedingly simple and inexpensive. The frame is composed of aluminum tubing and mirrors are attached to it.
The results are staggering -- the completed mirror focuses enough solar energy at its focal point to melt solid steel. The energy of typical sunlight is concentrated by a factor of 1,000. This was showcased during a demonstration, in which a team member held up a board, which instantly and violently combusted, when brought within range of the focal point.
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