Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Acoustics and Monstropolis

As we speak (well, I write and you read), Salt Lake City is buzzing with acoustical news. It's home to one of this year's Acoustical Society of America meetings.

The meeting covers topics from What Did Dinosaurs Hear? to a Workspace Speech Privacy Calculator. And where else can you hear legitimate scientific talks titled Is a Neolithic Burial Chamber Different from My Bathroom? and Life's a Pitch?

Science Daily had an interesting story, cleverly titled A Sound Way to Turn Heat into Electricity, about some research that will be presented at the meeting tomorrow. This research surrounds using sound to turn waste heat into electricity. The University of Utah physicists use hot, moving air to produce sound in a small resonator. The sound waves then squeeze a piezoelectric device, and shazam- you have electricity.


The Army is interested in this work because they could use the technology to make use of waste heat from radars and to create portable electrical energy generators that could power electronics on the battlefield. You can imagine how else it might be useful - Dr. Orest Symko, the lead researcher, thinks the technology could make efficient cooling systems for computers and generate electricity from the heat give off by nuclear power plant cooling towers.



Cool stuff! Sort of reminds me of Monstropolis, the city in Monsters Inc. powered by the screams of children...

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