Typically, the only sound that physically levitates objects is the scream from your vocal cords beating against the screen when that thin-extrude doesn’t work. Perhaps there’s another way to use soundwaves to manipulate geometry? Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) are successfully using an acoustic levitator to develop pharmaceuticals. Using the device originally developed by NASA to simulate microgravity conditions, the team is suspending individual droplets of solutions to ensure it stays in an amorphous state. How could this be applied to CAD?
What if you could locate physical bits of liquid matter exactly where it needed to go in order to form a larger object, completely controlling what could and could not solidify? Too crazy? In developing the drugs, the ANL scientist found that some of the solutions were solidifying in their containers, so…
In order to avoid this problem, Benmore needed to find a way to evaporate a solution without it touching anything. Because liquids conform to the shape of their containers, this was a nearly impossible requirement — so difficult, in fact, that Benmore had to turn to an acoustic levitator, a piece of equipment originally developed for NASA to simulate microgravity conditions.
Levitating the samples allows them the solution from crystallizing. How does it work?
At certain points along a standing wave, known as nodes, there is no net transfer of energy at all. Because the acoustic pressure from the sound waves is sufficient to cancel the effect of gravity, light objects are able to levitate when placed at the nodes.
Wielding a device that positions amorphous matter isn’t to far of a stretch. 3D printers apply similar principles, albeit without floating the extruded plastic across soundwaves… OK, maybe it’s a bit of a stretch to apply the idea of suspending beads of liquid with the reverberations from your ‘Master and Commander’ soundtrack. More than likely though, this could be used in the development of new materials.