Engineers develop fire extinguisher that puts out fire with sound

Inspenet, March 7, 2023

Engineers at George Mason University (GMU) in the United States have developed a prototype portable fire extinguisher that extinguishes fire using low-frequency sound waves.

Viet Tran and Seth Robertson’s new fire extinguisher looks a bit like a conventional one, but instead of a tank of compressed air spewing chemicals, there’s a subwoofer-sized speaker that emits sound waves.

This prototype uses an audio generator, an amplifier and a collimator with which it is possible to focus the sound to the right place. What this system does is displace oxygen from the area of the flame to cause the fire to cease, but not with any music, but with continuous low frequencies.

When they started working on this prototype, Tran and Robertson thought that high tones would be effective. But it’s not like that. “These are low-frequency sounds, like the bass in hip hop,” Tran explained.

This first prototype has worked correctly with a controlled fire using alcohol as fuel, thus laying the foundations for the development of an improved system that can not only be used at home but also to extinguish large fires and that is safe to prevent reactivation of the fire. fire as it is not a model that refreshes the environment like water.

That low humming sound, when pointed at the flames, makes them disappear. To some extent, it’s like blowing fire, because sound waves are basically multiple, regular pulses of air.

One of the great advantages of this type of fire extinguisher is that it does not require toxic chemical products, which makes it a product that ensures the health of people and the environment.

Extinguishing a flame usually leaves chemical residues in every space, the sound waves are much cleaner, they don’t smell or create mess.

Tran envisions the new extinguishers being small, perhaps mounted on kitchen stoves to put out oil and grease fires in the kitchen. Or astronauts could use them. “In space, the contents of the fire extinguisher are scattered everywhere. But instead you can direct sound waves in a gravity-free environment,” Robertson said.

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