Tag: acoustics

DARPA's New Machine for Blowing Out Fires—With Sound Waves

By Sophie Bushwick | July 17, 2012 12:03 pm

Music may have charms to soothe the savage breast—but it can also do a number on flames. In the above video, a blast of sound easily conquers fire. When researchers from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA’s, placed two speakers on either side of the burning liquid fuel, the sound waves increased the air velocity and thinned the fire. As for the fuel itself, the higher velocity led to more fuel vaporization for a wider and cooler flame. Both effects made the blaze easy to snuff out.

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What Would You Sound Like on Venus?

By Veronique Greenwood | April 3, 2012 12:40 pm

First consider what, exactly, you’d be doing here.

Like a Smurf with a bass voice, according to Tim Leighton, a professor of acoustics at University of Southampton who has made it his mission to figure this kind of thing out, using physics and math combined with data about otherworldly atmospheres.

Venus’s atmosphere is much denser than ours, so vocal cords would vibrate more slowly there, yielding a lower voice—the opposite of what happens when you inhale helium. The speed of sound, though, is a lot faster on Venus than it is here, Leighton explains in a press release. He says that this can mess with how big we imagine the speaker to be: “This tricks the way our brain interprets the size of a speaker (presumably an evolutionary trait that allowed our ancestors to work out whether an animal call in the night was something that was small enough to eat or so big as to be dangerous).” So we might interpret that deep bass rumble as coming from a diminutive form.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Aliens Therefrom

Stonehenge Would've Made a Good Dance Club

By Nina Bai | January 7, 2009 7:32 pm

stonehengeWhatever our prehistoric ancestors were doing at Stonehenge, they were probably doing it to trance music, suggests a new study.  Researchers conducted the first mathematical analysis of Stonehenge’s acoustical properties and found that, at its prime, the Bronze Age structure would’ve been the perfect venue for fast-tempo jams.

Since only about a third of the original 80 monoliths that made up Stonehenge are still standing, researchers Rupert Till and Bruno Fazenda used the next best thing: a full-scale concrete replica of Stonehenge located in Washington state.  Acoustic tests at the replica site as well as computer simulations showed that a fast tempo of about 160 beats per minute—think trance, or samba, or your heartbeat after some energetic dancing—coincide with the echoes reflected by the stone structures.
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MORE ABOUT: acoustics, music, Stonehenge

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