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New devices that can turn heat into sound and then into electricity @ ScienceDaily!

University of Utah physicist Orest Symko demonstrates how heat can be converted into sound by using a blowtorch to heat a metallic screen inside a plastic tube, which then produces a loud tone, similar to when air is blown into a flute. Symko and his students are developing much smaller devices that not only convert heat to sound, but then use the sound to generate electricity. The devices may be used to cool electronics, harness solar energy in a new way, and conserve energy by changing waste heat into electric power.

ScienceDaily: A Sound Way To Turn Heat Into Electricity – Link.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. JohnnyGTO says:

    Could someone point me to a link or explain in laymen terms how this works and if it can be recreated by a Maker?

  2. hammerthumb says:

    JohnnyGTO
    I’ve been researching thermoacoustics on and off for a while but not being a physicist kind of puts a limit to how much I can do on paper.

    Here’s a link to a page that really made sense to me:

    http://www.mit.edu/~howitt/humcool/

    I’ve gotten some information from the following, although you have to register to read the forum and download the papers:

    http://www.mecheng.adelaide.edu.au/anvc/thermoacoustics/

    You can also buy an “Acoustic Laser” kit from Penn state for $24:

    http://www.acs.psu.edu/thermoacoustics/refrigeration/laserdemo.htm

  3. ballooney says:

    One of the cooler applications for this stuff is in acoustic control. The combustion chamber of a jet engine is a little like the flame in the tube, and it too produces sound. If you can introduce some kind of anti-phase exitation (in the case of some research at Cambridge: pulsing the fuel into the combustion chamber) then you have the potential to make your jet engines a lot quieter. It also makes combustion more even.

    Have a look here: http://www-g.eng.cam.ac.uk/energy/acoustics/activecombinstab.html

  4. Bandman says:

    Great. We can turn global warming around 180 into an ice age.