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How can I build an efficient thermoacoustic device with household materials? Answered

For a while now, I have been trying to build a thermoacoustic device with the following specs:
-Can run with a temperature difference at around 100 degrees Celsius (ice on one end, boiling water on the other end, but it won't actually work with water)
-uses normal air for the working fluid
-constructed out of available household materials (or anything I can find at a hardware, office, or similar store)
I have tried jamming coffee stirrers in a PVC pipe with copper wire serving as the heat sink, alternating layers of foil and two-sided tape, and for the third & recent attempt, newspaper jammed between two peg-boards (untested, but unlikely to work).


Jack A Lopez

Best Answer 8 years ago

Erm... dumb question:  Which way are you trying to drive this thing?

Are you (1) driving it with heat in order to produce sound?

Or are you (2) driving it with sound, to try to pump heat, essentially a sound-powered refrigerator.

I've seen (1) sold in kit form by Penn State, here:


8 years ago

I don't know if 100 deg C is enough of a temperature differential.  The reference http://www.osd.rutgers.edu/gs/06papers/Thermoacoustic.pdf  talks about the "critical temperature."  I haven't tried to solve the equation, but if you want to take a look at it, it might give you some useful numbers. It also has some good references.  With care, it should be possible to build a device out of household materials--there is nothing exotic in the manufacture, but the spacing seems fairly critical.

If you get one to work, please make an Instructable on it.


8 years ago

What exactly do you want this device to do? Because it sounds like a project I have sitting here, just waiting for me to get it to go, except I'm not even sure if it's the same thing, both are malevolently simple but clearly witchcraft...