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.





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.
How to use IPD; 2017 Commissioning Giants; CFDs and harmonic mitigation; Eight steps to determine plumbing system requirements
2017 MEP Giants; Mergers and acquisitions report; ASHRAE 62.1; LEED v4 updates and tips; Understanding overcurrent protection
Integrating electrical and HVAC for energy efficiency; Mixed-use buildings; ASHRAE 90.4; Wireless fire alarms assessment and challenges
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
Transformers; Electrical system design; Selecting and sizing transformers; Grounded and ungrounded system design, Paralleling generator systems
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; VFDs in high-performance buildings
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.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me