This site is intended to provide an overview of the research and development in electrically driven thermoacoustic refrigeration. Our group has made progress by designing and building complete systems – this approach has been in part driven by a desire to find out if this technology can be commercially viable. Another advantage of designing complete systems that include a wide range of subsystems (electro-acoustic transducers, heat exchangers, resonators, stacks and regenerators) is that as curiosity driven researchers we get to learn about a diverse set of principles, concepts and problems – many of which are applicable outside of the design of heat engines.
Since we are a “device” oriented group, this site will describe each major device that we’ve built under the “PROJECTS” section. Also, find out information about the neat thermoacoustic engine-in-a-test-tube, also called an Acoustic Laser, that you can build at your desk in the “DEMO KIT ” section. Finally, the site has a lot of information about thermoacoustic research and development both inside and outside Penn State and contains links to several publications (some online) and other resources to help you learn more about the field.
Thanks for your visit, and please feel free to contact us for more information.
The Thermoacoustic Refrigeration research group in the News...
- Be sure to read Ryan Bigge's article "The Thermoacoustic Freezer" published in the New York Times in December 12, 2004. Click here to read the full version of the article online.
Thermoacoustics featured as one of the "The Most Amazing Inventions of 2004" in November issue of Time Magazine.
- ScienCentral News just published the article "Cool Sounds" by Karen Lurie.
- Our project that has generated the most press attention recently is the thermoacoustic ice cream freezer prototype we developed for Ben & Jerry’s. Click here to go to the Penn State press release entitled “’Green’ chiller technology rolled-out on Earth Day”.
- Ken Brown wrote a story that appeared on the cover of the “Marketplace” section in the 15 April 2004 issue of the Wall Street Journal (subscription required).
- The story by Rich Kerstetter, which appeared on the cover of the Sunday “Business” section of the Centre Daily Times on 9 May 2004, can be accessed following this link.
- National Public Radio’s Robert Smith did an interview at the Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop where our thermoacoustic ice cream freezer had its North American debut on 22 April 2004. That interview was broadcast on 28 April 2004 on the afternoon news show, “All Things Considered.” The interview (audio) is available at their website.
- To commemorate the development of the thermoacoustic refrigerator they sponsored at Penn State, Ben & Jerry’s developed a website which explains the environmental problems associated with conventional refrigerants that destroy the stratospheric ozone layer and/or contribute to global warming. It also has some very nice animations that illustrate the heat pumping process using our “bellows bounce” resonator and “vibro-mechanical multiplier” used to provide the proper phasing of pressure and gas flow through the regenerator.
- “Discoveries and Inventions in Science” produced a 90-sec. television spot in English and Spanish for the American Institute of Physics. The recently recorded an interview with Dr. Matt Poese which is available on their website under "Sound Cooling".