Tag: firefighting

Forget the Firetruck: Future Firefighters May Use Ghostbusters-Like Electric Backpacks

By Valerie Ross | March 30, 2011 3:41 pm

We learned watching Ghostbusters that for busting ghosts, nothing beats a well-placed zap of protons from a backpack-turned-positron collider. Now, researchers at Harvard University are working on a technique that could let future firefighters do their job (sort of) the same way, using an electric beam—generated by a portable amplifier, which might even fit in a backpack—to put out the flames.

This futuristic method is based on a centuries-old observation that electric fields can do funny things (videos) to flames, making them sputter and even snuffing them out.

The researchers’ early-stage prototype consists of a 600-watt amplifier hooked up to a electric beam-shooting wand, according to their presentation at the American Chemical Society meeting earlier this week.  In tests, they were able to quickly zap out flames over a foot high.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Chemistry, Electronics, Movies

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