Engineering Students Manage to Put Out Fire With Sound
I guess using a fire extinguisher is too mainstream, we should give sound a try. No no, I don’t mean we should start yelling at the fire, it won’t go out with fear or intimidation.
Some engineering students have managed to put out fire with sound via a fire extinguisher that uses low-frequency sound waves. The students in question are computer engineering major Viet Tran and electrical engineering major Seth Robertson from George Mason University.
The duo wants to bring major changes in firefighting with their device. Implementation of this technology on a large scale, say a fire department using this, will take a lot of time. For now, this device has a future in households.
I’m not an engineer but I’ll try to explain the concept behind this device to the best of my ability. So here goes: the extinguisher is based on oxygen displacement with sound waves while it moves through physical space. As we all know, fire feeds on Oxygen so if we take that away from it, it dies.
The pair first tested this idea with music, but that didn’t work as sound waves were inconsistent. Later, they used high frequency waves but they did nothing except vibrating the flames.
However, they found the sweet spot with 30-60Hz frequency, which kept Oxygen away from the flames long enough for it to suffocate.
A similar device was previously created by DARPA, but it was a huge machine to be moved easily. But both Tran and Robertson wanted to build a portable device, capable of demonstrating this idea. So they used frequency generators, an amplifier and collimator made from a cardboard tube with a hole that’ll channel the waves towards the fire.
They performed the experiment one more time and were able to put out a small fire created by alcohol accelerant. Hence, proving that this concept is viable. The next step is to further develop prototypes that can be used to deal with larger fires.
If they are successful, this could revolutionize firefighting forever.