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Ripples #83
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Ripples #83

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Compiled and written by Lenny Giteck

Ripples art--smallStudent Generates Electricity
From Lap Swimmers’ Waves

According to the Web site, Yinger Jin, a student at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has come up with a way to generate electricity using waves made by lap swimmers in a pool.

The Web site’s report notes that an oscillating water column “is one of the better ways to convert wave energy into electricity.” Jin applied that principle to the campus swimming pool. The article further explains:

The [water] column uses the power of a wave rising in a cylinder as a piston, which forces air up through the top of the cylinder, and then it draws fresh air back in as the water recedes. This air movement causes a turbine located at the top of the cylinder to generate electricity basically for free — unless the swimmers want to start charging for their efforts.

Not that Jin’s experiment will be powering our cities anytime soon: In the student’s project, enough electricity was produced to light only ten 100-watt light bulbs.

Still, Jin and Assistant Professor Sarah Mason, his teacher in a class about the mathematics of sustainable energy, plan to apply the lessons learned from the pool project to generating considerably more electricity from ocean waves off the coast
of North Carolina.

To learn more, click here.

Ripples Classic: Nov. 21, 2012

University Turns Wave Tank
Into Enormous Music Maker

A wave tank at the University of Plymouth, in Devon, England, has been turned into an enormous musical instrument that creates haunting sounds — but don’t expect any catchy tunes you can hum while leaving a concert. A report on said the music was somewhat reminiscent of the sounds made by whales.

According to the Web site, university professor Dr. Alexis Kirke placed motion sensors over his body, enabling him to control the waves created in the tank; gauges in the tank transmitted electronic signals to a synthesizer, which produced the sounds. In addition, a specially outfitted buoy in the water rang like a bell when it was struck by waves. Four university students provided a drum accompaniment.

The result was a unique musical experience called the Orchestra of Waves. After the performance, Prof. Kirke was quoted as saying,

“The show went very well, and people in the audience were asking whether they could buy the music….You are in a building and hear the noise of the waves… and see them crashing down….There’s no way of explaining what it’s like to have dramatic sounds synchronized with that.”

The concert followed the official dedication of the university’s new Marine Building by Britain’s 91-year-old Prince Philip. The building cost a reported 19 million (approximately $30 million); the wave tank inside measures 35 meters by 15 meters (115 feet by 49 feet).

Photos and video: To see photos of the event and watch a video containing the sounds that were created, click here. Be sure to scroll all the way down.

And with that, Ripples once again says…
Until next time, happy watershaping to you!

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