A Real Cool Sound

After years of study, thermo-acoustics—using sound as a cooling agent—may finally move out of the research lab and into actual use. Although not yet commercially viable, test projects have shown that the technology can work. In the recently completed "Triton" project, conducted for the Office of Naval Research, researchers, including those from Penn State University, were able to ap...

01/01/2003


After years of study, thermo-acoustics—using sound as a cooling agent—may finally move out of the research lab and into actual use.

Although not yet commercially viable, test projects have shown that the technology can work. In the recently completed "Triton" project, conducted for the Office of Naval Research, researchers, including those from Penn State University, were able to apply thermo-acoustics to three-ton air conditioners.

The technology, according to chief researcher Prof. Steven L. Garrett, makes use of acoustic drivers that function like loudspeakers to bounce sound around a sealed chamber. Because sound waves are air that is expanding and compressing, regions of air become hot and cold. The temperature differential at various parts inside the cavity can be used for an external cooling system, he explains. Garett has successfully used the technology to create an ice cream freezer.

In the case of project Triton, says Steve McElvany, the project's program officer, researchers hoped to develop a system that would operate at or above the efficiency of a closed-cycle refrigerator. Unfortunately, he concedes, the project fell short of the goal. However, he believes that the efficiency of thermo-acoustic systems will eventually match conventional systems.





No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Combined heat and power; Assessing replacement of electrical systems; Energy codes and lighting; Salary Survey; Fan efficiency
Commissioning lighting control systems; 2016 Commissioning Giants; Design high-efficiency hot water systems for hospitals; Evaluating condensation and condensate
Solving HVAC challenges; Thermal comfort criteria; Liquid-immersion cooling; Specifying VRF systems; 2016 Product of the Year winners
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing Arc Flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
click me