04 Vortex Ring GunScientists at Battelle have filed a patent application for a device that shoots rings of gas, which is said to be able to help firefighters and various other jobs. More commonly known as the vortex gun, these smoke ring shooters have been around for years as toys, but scientists have finally discovered how to make them practical for work. Here’s an explanation on how the Vortex Guns function:

The gun forms vortex rings by forcing air or some other gas at high velocity down the gun’s cylinder. The ring forms when the friction of the cylinder wall causes a thin layer of the gas to roll forward on itself like a donut. Imagine a tornado formed into a donut shape. The ring revolves on itself while traveling out the cylinder and it can maintain that stability for long distances. Depending on the size of the gun, Battelle data confirms that a ring vortex can exit a generator at 90 miles per hour and maintain a speed of at least 60 mph for more than 50 yards.

Because the vortex rings are extremely stable, they can travel quite a distance, and the gun can fire them at specific targets. In some application, it makes them better than traditional gas delivery methods – i.e. shooting tear gas at specific targets riots or pesticide at a wasp nest from a distance. Firefighters could also use this gun by shooting out ionized air to help clear the smoke in a hallway or up/down some stairs during an emergency. Check out a video demonstration of the gun below:

[Press Release]

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