Sound’s Fantastic

Posted by fi17 at Jun 22, 2012 03:49 PM |
Public lecture on how the power of sound can provide environmentally-friendly form of energy conversion

An award-winning University of Leicester engineering expert will explain how the power of sound can provide an efficient, environmentally-friendly form of energy conversion.

Professor Artur Jaworski, Chair in Engineering at the University's Department of Engineering, will give his inaugural lecture, 'Thermoacoustic Technologies: from Fundamentals to Applications', on Tuesday 26 June.

Thermoacoustic effects allow heat to be converted into sound - or intense sound to be used to transport heat.

When porous solid objects known as "stacks" or "regenerators" are immersed in an intense acoustic wave, the gas contained inside the object can compress or expand - which causes heating or cooling of the object.

Conversely, when a gas is heated to produce sound waves, these sound waves can be converted into electricity. 

These effects can be heard in the 'singing' of hot glass vessels during glass-blowing processes, and can be used in thermoacoustic coolers, heat pumps and engines.

The process can be used to increase the efficiency of energy sources - from solar power to burning firewood - and also allows the utilization of industrial waste heat to improve energy efficiency.

The lecture will explain the advances that have been made in the field by Professor Jaworski's research group in the last ten years, which include the development of systems and devices which harness thermoacoustic effects.

Professor Jaworski said: "There are clear technological and environmental benefits of thermoacoustic systems. 

"Firstly, their engineering complexity is significantly reduced: a thermoacoustic engine is essentially a pressurised network of acoustic ducts with heat exchangers and stacks or regenerators - having no moving parts - which generates useful work. This is a major advantage in applications where frequent maintenance is not possible. 

"Secondly, they are environmentally friendly: the working medium is usually an inert gas such as helium, neon, argon or xenon, or their mixtures; cheaper systems can just use air. 

"Finally, they are potentially low-cost due to their simplicity, low maintenance and use of inexpensive parts, materials and working media."

Professor Jaworski recently received The Royal Society Industry Fellowship, which will see him working closely with Leicestershire-based company European Thermodynamics for three years. He was previously a recipient of EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship (2004-2009) which focused on fundamental research in the area of Thermoacoustic Technologies.

The lecture will be held on Tuesday 26 June from 5.30pm in Lecture Theatre 1 in the Ken Edwards Building, University of Leicester, and is free and open to the public.



For more information, please contact Professor Jaworski at or on 0116 223 1033.

About Professor Jaworski:

Artur's academic training and employment include the following:

• 1986-1991: Five year MSc studies at the Faculty of Power and Aeronautical Engineering of the Warsaw University of Technology. These were in speciality Applied Mechanics and were concerned with theoretical and numerical analysis of heat and mass transfer processes;

• 1992-1996: PhD studies at the Department of Aeronautics, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London. Experimental research in fluid mechanics concerning coherent structures generated by vortex breakdown flow field;

• 1996-2000: Postdoctoral research associate at the Department of Chemical Engineering, UMIST. Conducted research in the area of sensor design and measurement and instrumentation for multiphase processes and non-invasive imaging techniques such as industrial process tomography;

• 2000-2011: Lecturer in Engineering, Manchester School of Engineering at the University of Manchester; from 2004 Senior Lecturer, School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester;

• 2004-2009: Appointment as EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow - Thermoacoustic Technologies;

• 2011-to date: Chair in Engineering and Head of the Thermofluids Research Group, Department of Engineering, University of Leicester.

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