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Sound Wave Energy
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Invention may do for sound what laser did for internal linklight

 
Sound container

 'It's doing something ... completely impossible'

December 2, 1997
Web posted at: 9:52 p.m. EST (0252 GMT)

From CNN Correspondent Jim Hill 

SAN DIEGO (CNN) -- A researcher says he has done something "completely impossible" by harnessing the power of sound, and that eventually it will be available in everything from home appliances to industrial compressors. 

external linkTim Lucas says he made a radical discovery while working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in internal linkNew Mexico that enables him to create more energy through sound waves than was ever thought possible. 

"It's not an incremental improvement in an existing technology," Lucas says, "it's suddenly doing something which before was completely impossible." 

Scientists have long known that sound is composed of internal linkpulsing   internal linkwaves of energy, but it was considered useless as a power source because at high levels sound waves distort into shock waves. 

An example is the way sound distorts on a stereo or radio speakers when turned up too loud. 

But Lucas discovered that by sending sound waves through empty containers of various shapes, the shock waves were eliminated. 

Clean internal linkelectric power generators?

"Once you've done that," he says, "you can add all the energy, create all the pressure, and deliver all the power that you want." 

Lucas calls his invention Resonant Macrosonic Synthesis -- RMS. 

He has used it to power such things as a gas compressor, but believes there is so much potential that he compares what he has done with sound to what the laser has done with light. 

His company, Macrosonix, is working on sound wave compressors which might one day do everything from cool refrigerators and air conditioners in the home to running compressors in factories and on construction sites. 

The beauty of a sound-wave compressor is that it would do what a compressor does, but without the moving parts required in conventional piston technology. 

Mechanical engineering professor external linkMark Hamilton, who has followed Lucas' work, says, "I don't think the idea struck people that you could use sound waves to do, say, pumping that could be used on a commercial scale. And I think that was the innovative part of the idea here." 

Macrosonix researchers say they also hope to use sound to create clean electric power generators, replacing any number of machines with the technology of an empty cavity. 


 
 
 

Lucas uses containers of various shapes to eliminate shock waves   
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