MadSci Network: Physics

Re: can sound be used to move an object?

Date: Mon Apr 7 13:22:46 2003
Posted By: Aurelio Ramos, Grad student, Computer Engineering
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1048751749.Ph

To move an object using sound you need a lot of sound energy and a lot of 
knowledge about the object you are attempting to move. Additionally, its 
far more likely to succeed in moving an object if the sound comes from 
the direction oposite to the intended direction of motion.

Unfortunately, the kind of sound we are talking about here is equivalent 
to an explosion, and moving an object with an explosion is likely to 
cause far too much colateral damage if any considerable distance exists 
between the object and the point of origin of the sonic source. Needless 
to say, speakers cannot generate that much sound energy, conventional 
explosives or compressed gas would work much better. Keep in mind that 
the amount of energy spent to achieve this far surpases the amount of 
work actually required to move the object. Most of the energy is 
disipated in the surrounding environment. So this is not very efficient.

There are far more practical ways to move objects: the obvious ways: by 
car, train, or in person, etc.

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