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Method of melting solid materials

Image Number 7 for United States Patent #6120430.

A method of melting solid materials while controlling melt shape, without the expenditure of energy to melt unwanted quantities of surrounding materials, and an apparatus to effect the method. The method comprises the use of a planar starter path between electrodes so as to initiate melting and/or vitrification in a plane rather than in a discrete linear path between electrodes. Because melting is initiated along a significant portion of the linear dimension of the electrodes, creating a melted zone that is deeper than it is thick, the aspect ratio (depth "Y"/width "Z") of the melted mass is greater than 1.0.

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