While in a local, Japanese owned restaurant for lunch today, I had a moment or two while waiting for my sushi to be prepared, so I grabbed a Fortune Small Business magazine to leaf through and stumbled upon an interesting article on a metal called Terfenol-D which is created by combining two rare earth metals. Terfenol-D, the article informs us,
...changes its shape—as quickly as 20,000 times a second—when exposed to a magnetic field. A tiny amount of the metal—about a splinter’s worth—causes invisible vibrations that are rapid and powerful enough to move the surface of an entire tabletop, allowing it to transmit sound (see box).
Also from the article.
Five of Etrema’s top executives are sitting in a conference room listening to jock rock. The space is drab even by conference-room standards, furnished with an oversized green marble table on which sit two fist-sized chrome discs plugged into a portable CD player. But the music sounds as if it is coming from everywhere. The quality is so good that when I close my eyes, I could swear that Queen’s Freddie Mercury is standing in the room in front of me, promising, “We will, we will rock you!
The metal can even turn your windows into speakers, or your entire house.
The article is titled Metal Heads and is well worth a read.
You gotta love technology that comes to you from the cornfields of Iowa.
UPDATE (07.03.2012): Repaired link to article, which now is filed under a headline reading, “Scientists in Iowa have developed a magic metal that can turn walls into speakers and remove the smell from manure. If only they can keep those Chinese spies from stealing their formula ...” Why, I do not know.