By Mark Prigg
PUBLISHED: 05:37 EST, 18 July 2012 | UPDATED: 09:20 EST, 18 July 2012
American government researchers have succeeded in putting out fires using just a pair of speakers.
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The DARPA team today revealed video footage of their unique experiment.
In the video, two speakers are placed on either side of a fuel source.
As the volume is turned up, the sound increases air velocity, which disrupts the flame.
As the velocity goes up, the flame boundary layer, where combustion occurs, thins, making it easier to extinguish the flame.
It also causes higher fuel vaporization, which increases the flame’s area while dropping its temperature. That thinning causes a problem in the combustion process, causing the flame to go out.
The researchers believe the technique could eventually be used to fight fires in confined spaces such as onboard ships or submarines.
The agency has been experimenting with new ways to fight fires for a year.
Two approaches were selected – using electromagnetics and acoustics to suppress a flame.
One of the technologies explored was a hand-held electrode to suppress small methane gas and liquid fuel fires.
Matthew Goodman, DARPA program manager, said, “We have shown that the physics of combustion still has surprises in store for us. Perhaps these results will spur new ideas and applications in combustion research.”