Step into any building and chances are you will probably come across at least one fire extinguisher. The fire extinguisher has not really changed in terms of design or content over the years but what if it was possible that we could extinguish an open flame using just sound? How cool would that be?
Turns out that a couple of students at George Mason University managed to do just that when they created a fire extinguisher that could put out flames using just sound. The idea isn’t actually new as DARPA had actually unveiled a similar concept back in 2012, but the students – Viet Tran and Seth Robertson – have managed to make it into a handheld extinguisher, thus making it portable.
This isn’t so much a novel creation but one that the students are hoping will revolutionize firefighting, especially in the home. How they managed to do this was by having the device emit a frequency that basically kept oxygen away from the flame long enough to put them out. Dubbed the “Goldilocks zone”, this frequency exists at 30-60 hertz.
From there they had to develop a portable version which consists of a sound frequency generator, a small amplifier, and a collimator made out of cardboard with a hole at the end that helps focus the waves in a direction. As it stands their efforts have resulted in a device that has no problems putting out a small fire, but further testing is needed as the students want to explore the idea of combating different types of fires and bigger ones.
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