Fighting fire is a messy and surprisingly complicated.
Contrary to popular belief, water is not the only tool used to fight fires. In fact, depending on how the fire started and the environment, water could be very ineffective.
There are fire extinguishers that uses carbon dioxide, dry powder and even foam to combat six classes of fires.
A simpler and cleaner choice? Sound.
Students from the George Mason University have successfully demonstrated that sound, when tuned correctly, can extinguish fires by separating oxygen and the burning material with sonic vibrations.
Note: Viet Tran and Seth Robertson are not the first in exploring the idea of using sound to extinguish fires, but their device is potentially revolutionary due to its scalability and affordability.
This may offer ingenious applications, such as a mount on stove tops that can detect and eliminate fires gone awry. It may also have significant impact on its application outside of one's kitchen - like space!
A space station is no place for a traditional fire extinguisher. Contents coming out of the extinguisher will be all over the place, destroying sensitive and expensive equipment that could put astronauts' lives in greater jeopardy.
Gravity is also needed for such fire extinguishers to work, but not if you use sound.
You can go behind the science of what could be the a paradigm shift in fire fighting by starting here.
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