Fighting Fire with… Energy?

November 28, 2011

The phrase, “fight fire with fire,” doesn’t apply here. Neither does “fight fire with water”.  OK… how about we fight fire with energy? Good idea!

Firefighting technology is advancing beyond water and even flame suppressing chemicals. In the near future, firefighters may have no need for storing large quantities of flame suppressing chemicals, or thousands of gallons of water. Just bring the power source.

There would be no need to pollute the environment to save a man-made structure. And no longer would buildings be saved from serious fire damage at the expense of serious water damage. And it saves water. Literally tons of it.

For 200 years, it has been known that electricity affects flames. How? It seems that the carbon particles in the flames are charged and become unstable near the electromagnetic field. In this case, the energy comes from a wand carried by a firefighter.

The wand (perhaps powered by a backpack carried by the firefighter) concentrates energy into a beam to bend the flames around the energy or force the fire to become unstable, causing it to collapses upon itself and disappear.

The technology could be expanded to become part of the normal building logic of homes and businesses. Motor sports could incorporate the technology to eliminate (or at least minimize) a racer’s greatest fear. Plenty of military applications come to mind.

Think about it: Firefighters walking up to a wall of flames, opening a pathway by simply pointing a wand at the fire, and literally walking through the hole at will, while the inferno burns around them.

Sounds like science fiction. So does teleportation. 

OK, so we’re not exactly standing in a star ship’s transporter room watching molecules disassemble and disappear, only to reassemble in another location. But we are doing what scientists call bio digital cloning, which is surprisingly close. The process does an atom-for-atom replication of the original object. But that’s another post!

Given that, fighting fire anything except electricity seems almost primitive.

Check out PopSci.com for more on fighting fires with electromagnetic fields.

 

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