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Beams of Electricity to Extinguish Fires

It is common knowledge that electricity can cause fires, but can electricity help fight fires as well?

Harvard scientists have created a unique device that can shoot beams of electricity and instantly extinguish flames.

Because soot particles within flames can easily become charged, flames can lose stability when the local electrical fields are altered. The device works by hooking up a 600-watt amplifier to a wand-like probe, which delivers the electrical beams.

For the past 200 years it has been known that electricity can affect the shape of flames – influencing them to bend, twist, turn, flicker, or die out. Despite this long-standing knowledge, barely any research has been done on the phenomenon.

If adopted on a large scale, the device could minimize the amount of water sprayed into burning buildings and reduce the risk of water damage. A lower-powered amplifier could be worn by firefighters as a backpack, or mounted on ceilings like current sprinkler systems.

The only restriction for the technology is that it is best suited for fires that occur in confined spaces, as opposed to forest fires that engulf large wide-open areas. However, the scientists believe that the technology could boost the efficiency of devices that involve controlled combustion, such as engines, power plants, and cutting and welding torches.

The device was presented at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Image: U.S. Navy

One Response to “Beams of Electricity to Extinguish Fires”

  1. awesome invention…! it will help the world to fight against fire to some extent !

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