Research NewsPhysics

Cool Sounds at 200 Decibels

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Science  19 Dec 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5346, pp. 2060
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5346.2060

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The loudest controlled sounds ever made by a human were produced earlier this month--not by a rock band, but by a physicist. At the Acoustical Society of America meeting in San Diego, researchers demonstrated a new "acoustic compressor" that uses ultraintense sound waves to do the work of a mechanical pump. The new technology may soon be used in everyday appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners.