Sound waves snuff fire

Jan 29, 2008 3:47 am
From David Pescovitz in Boing Boing:
In 1857, Irish scientist John Tyndall recognized that sound waves could extinguish flames. Now, scientists hope that phenomena could lead to the development of new fire extinguishers that would be useful, say, in a spacecraft or terrestrially to avoid water damage from sprinklers. First though, they need to figure out why exactly sound can snuff fire. Most likely, the sound wave causes a drop in pressure that extinguishes the flame.

From Scientific American:
In 2004 Dmitriy Plaks and several of his fellow students at the University of West Georgia tested whether sound waves can douse fires in hopes of using sound to extinguish flames in a spacecraft. They placed a candle in a large topless chamber with three bass speakers attached to the walls. The candle was lit and the Canadian rock band Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" was pumped through the subwoofers. Within roughly 10 seconds, once the song hit a low note, the flame was out, according to results published in 2005 in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.