Researchers Using Sound to Heat and Cool

Researchers Using Sound to Heat and Cool

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Ed Yeates ReportingA refrigerator that uses sound to cool things down! Find that hard to believe? The University of Utah has already applied for patents on devices which could revolutionize the way we get rid of heat.

Physicists are working on some remarkable new technology that uses sound to get rid of heat, producing big and tiny little refrigerators with no moving parts. Glass blowers discovered the anomaly back in the eighteenth century. Heat produces sound. Physicists, even Einstein himself, said if so, the opposite happens. So, sound, in turn, can get rid of heat and cool things down.

A conventional speaker, playing at a low frequency we can't hear, is doing just that! It compresses and heats the air moving forward, then decompresses and cools it, vibrating the other way. So what physicists said all along holds true. Now they've learned how to capture all the resources.

While others are working on the big refrigerators, Dr. Orest Symko and his colleagues at the University of Utah are miniaturizing devices that will cool down the innards of computers, eliminating the need for fans.

Dr. Orest Symko, U of U Center for Acoustical Technology: “We're talking about devices which are of the order of a few millimeters long and they would operate at frequencies of the order of 40 kilohertz in the ultrasonics, so you would not hear them."

Again, the sound and the dramatic measurement. As the bar rises, the temperature drops. Sound can also be converted into electricity, coming full circle as an energy converter. Symko's team is going even further. They plan to build a prototype power plant that captures and reuses everything, even wasted heat that's normally dumped into the air.

Dr. Orest Symko: "Nuclear power plants waste heat all dumped into the air, so we can convert that with our devices which are simple and cheap to fabricate and have no moving parts."

This is just the tip of the iceberg. In months to come we'll be highlighting a lot more gee whiz stuff all being rolled out for this year's designated International Year of Physics.

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