DARPA is working on something that is very cool, it is a system which uses sound waves to put out fires. They are able to do this because of the research discoveries that were found on how fire interacts with the surfaces that are inflamed. Sound also interacts with light in very interesting way and in specific patterns in physics. Although there is more to learn on all of this, the potential applications, aside from all the military uses are immense. This will be one transfer technology which helps save lives. Okay, so let’s talk about this a bit.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a “sound wave fire suppression system” at large airports? The sound beams could be focused where ever an aircraft anywhere on the airport caught fire, or went off the runway. You see, in the future, and that future being right now our airliners will have more and more composite material made of carbon fiber, and in the future carbon nano tubes with graphene coatings. Many of these technologically advanced special materials used in such composites burn in such a way that they lets off poisonous gas. The occupants of an airliner that has run off the runway, where the airliner has caught fire could die from the poisonous gas even if they escape the flames.
However, if those fires can be put out those poisonous gas byproducts will not be created in the first place, therefore saving the passengers. Fires happen all the time at airports, sometimes it is with ground equipment, sometimes it is a malfunction; it could be a fuel leak, a hydraulic leak, hot brakes, blown tires, or any of a number of things. Since there are many fires from time to time, airports, especially large busy ones could afford the capital expenditure to put in the systems to save people’s lives.
Yes, there are all sorts of other uses such as brushfires, forest fires, fires aboard ships, and structure fires in large metropolitan areas. How about a high-rise which is on fire, there is no real way to get to it, but perhaps a helicopter could fly alongside in send in the sound waves? Maybe we can mount this on unmanned aerial vehicles with vertical landing and taking off capabilities – adding such strategies to our aerial firefighting capabilities surely makes sense.
Maybe the private sector and the firefighting community should be in on this research from the get-go, and ask for military transfer technologies as soon as it all becomes available, and as soon as this technology is read to be scaled up. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.