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Researchers from Coventry University are using simple ultrasound equipment to harness the power of sound for a wide array of research disciplines.
Effect of ultrasonic treatment of an ornamental pond to control algae: Two ends of the same pond with left hand side (inset) treated with ultrasound and the other untreated showing growth of algae (April 2009)
"The chemical effects of ultrasound have been known for many years, but only recently has it been exploited to create an exciting field of research," says Professor Tim Mason from Coventry University. The power of sound is being used to improve chemical and physical processes and has been successfully used in the chemical and food industries.
Ultrasound is sound pitched above the range of human hearing. It is used extensively in the medical profession for imaging. Now researchers are using ultrasound to create short-lived energy hotspots in liquids with temperatures as high as the surface of the sun, and pressures higher than those at the bottom of the deepest ocean. These hotspots can be used as mini-reactors to increase chemical reaction rates, sterilise food and water and improve electroplating. The technology can also be used to degas liquids, separate particles and treat cancer without an invasive operation.
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