Home » Posts tagged 'DARPA'

Tag Archives: DARPA

Notes


Eugene Mirabelli, who writes the posts on Critical Pages, has been busy completing another novel and, he says, "Doing all the things the publisher keeps asking me to do." So the frequency of new posts had fallen off. However, he's back writing posts again, despite his age.

Please feel free to wander back through what's here or click on one of the subjects in the tag cloud over there. We think you'll find something of interest. Information about Gene Mirabelli's distinguished novel, Renato, the Painter, is available at www.mirabelli.net


Stamp Out Starving Writers! Buy their books! Start by patronizing your local independent bookstore. Bookstores have lots of books and they'll be glad to help you find whatever you want. We mean books. They'll match you with a book. Or just wander amid the stacks of books and you're sure to find something interesting.
Bookstore kissing 210
Sadly, the couple pictured here aren't taking advantage of the amazing number and variety of books at hand. But we hope you will.

DARPA Wants to Put Out Fires

DARPA is the acronym for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Flames You never heard of it? It’s the central research and development organization for the United States Department of Defense. The internet is probably the best known product to come from DARPA and, in fact, what you’re using at this moment was called darpanet before it was called internet.

DARPA sponsors research in many fields, some of them scary, many of them not known to the public, even though the agency itself is not remarkably or unnecessarily secretive. One of their not-so-secretive projects is fire suppression. As it says on their web site “Fire in a combat vehicle or other confined space puts warfighters at risk.  DARPA’s Instant Fire Suppression (IFS) program seeks to establish the feasibility of a novel flame-suppression system based on destabilization of flame plasma with electromagnetic fields, acoustics, ion injection, or other novel approaches.”

In other words, they’re interested in learning how to put out fires instantly with a blast of electro-magnetism or sound. And, in fact, in response to DARPA’s challenge, scientists have had some success. In Professor George Whiteside’s lab at Harvard University this year scientists were able to snuff out a flame a foot and a half tall by directing a strong electric field at it. When you have a fire, some of the fuel is separated into positively and negatively charged particles swirling in the gas that makes up the flame. And it’s been known for a long time that a static electric field could bend flames. Instead of using a static field, Whitesides’ group used an oscillating field. They pointed a wire wand, which had a high-voltage field flowing from its tip, at a flame and the flame was shoved so far from it’s source of fuel that it instantly went out. Extinguishing a flame in a laboratory isn’t the same as putting out an uncontrolled fire in the outside world, but it’s a start. If you’d like to read more, here’s a link to an article about the experiment in Harvard Magazine.

A Change of Scene


If you've been here before you'll notice that we've made a few changes. Or maybe we should avoid responsibility and say that changes have occurred. We're not experts in HTML code and as we "improve" this website odd things happen, and if we begin to improve things at 8:00 in the evening we find ourselves still working and trying to undo our
improvements at 3:00 AM.