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.





Product of the Year
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
40 Under Forty: Get Recognized
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
MEP Giants Program
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
September 2018
Power boiler control, Product of the Year, power generation,and integration and interoperability
August 2018
MEP Giants, lighting designs, circuit protection, ventilation systems, and more
July 2018
Integrating electrical and HVAC systems, emerging trends in fire, life safety, ASHRAE 90.4
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Data Center Design
Data centers, data closets, edge and cloud computing, co-location facilities, and similar topics are among the fastest-changing in the industry.
click me