March 26, 2015
George Mason University Students Extinguish Fire With Low-Frequency Sound Waves [Video]

Engineering students Seth Robertson and Viet Tran of George Mason University in Virginia have invented a revolutionary device that uses low-frequency sound waves to extinguish fire instead of water, gas or foam.

The young engineers used $600 worth of equipment, including a speaker, amps and a collimeter, to starve the flame of oxygen, thus putting it out.

The fire extinguisher uses low frequencies between 30 and 60 hertz ranges to blast the fire, separating oxygen from the fuel.

"The pressure wave is going back and forth, and that agitates where the air is. That specific space is enough to keep the fire from reigniting," Tran told the Washington Post.

In the video, the small cylindrical device is held about a foot from the flame, which is almost immediately snuffed out.

George Mason University students extinguish fire with sound frequencies

"I see this device being applied to a lot of things, first off I think in the kitchen," said Tran.

"But eventually I'd like to see this applied to swarm robots, where it would be attached to a drone and that would be applied to force fires or even building fires where you wouldn't want to sacrifice human life."

Robertson, 23, and Tran, 28, initially faced a lot of skepticism, which usually comes with great scientific ingenuity.

"You guys don't know what you're talking about," Tran said they were told. After all, they are electrical engineers, not chemical.

Several members of the academic staff even declined to be their adviser on the project. Eventually, professor Brian Mark agreed to supervise the invention, and not fail them if it didn't work.

The engineering pair is now owners of a preliminary patent application for the fire extinguisher, which is described as "potentially revolutionary."

[Image via George Mason University]