Designer Gravel Could Extract Energy From Runways
3:47 PM on Jul 25, 2011
Airport runway noise could be turned into useful power, according to researchers at the University of Buffalo. Specially shaped particles in the concrete could be used to channel the "junk energy" from noise and vibration to microchips that would convert it to power.
The concept has yet to be demonstrated experimentally, but a team led by theoretical physicist Surajit Sen has developed a mathematical framework for how alterting the shape of particles can potentially channel energy in controllable ways.
Graphics: Surajit Sen, University of Buffalo
Enegry propagates through a granular material like concrete by grain-to-grain contact. Sen's framework describes how, by changing the shape of a particle's surface where it presses against the next one, it is possible to change how the energy moves. This could be used to convert runway vibration into packets of electrical energy, the researchers suggest.