Scientists will showcase new climate solutions

Physicists will come together to share potential climate solutions at the 75th Annual Meeting of the Division of Fluid Dynamics of the American Physical Society online and in person in Indianapolis Nov. 20-22.

Registered journalists interested in new advances in firefighting measures, hurricane-resistant building ventilation and environmentally sound air conditioning based on sound waves are invited to attend a press conference online or in person in room 210 of the Indiana Convention Center on November 22 at 9:30 a.m. EST.

Free registration for news media with valid APS press credentials is required to attend the press conference and meeting. To request press accreditation, go to APS Online Newsroom.

Additional details, including instructions for joining the press conference remotely, will be emailed to registered journalists. The press conference will be recorded and available on demand.

Descriptions of the presentations that will be the subject of the press conference are presented below.

Fuel ladders turn prescribed burns into unmanageable wildfires

Prescribed burns are an important part of fire management in Southern California. But these burns sometimes escalate from controlled surface fires designed to clear flammable detritus to indomitable wildfires that spread from treetop to treetop in a phenomenon known as crown fires.

Now, Sanika Nishandar and her colleagues will reveal insights from a laboratory scale experiment and a fire dynamics simulator. Their research examines how controlled fire on dry surfaces sneakily climbs living shrubs, using this vegetation as both a fuel source and a ladder to reach the treetops and spread. This fuel data specific to California’s environment could be applied to improve firefighting tactics as fire seasons in the United States and around the world continue to worsen due to climate change.

Airflow modeling makes buildings resistant to hurricanes and extreme heat

Two other consequences of unaddressed climate change are the increasing frequency of Category 5 hurricanes and the increasing frequency of heat waves. Hurricanes are equipped with strong winds that flatten homes like those from Hurricane Ivan, while heat waves can expose building residents to dangerously high indoor temperatures.

Here, Catherine Gorlé and her colleagues will describe how they designed new modelframeworks to effectively predict external wind load and interior ventilation and cooling, under changing wind conditions like speed, direction and temperature. The effectiveness of the models has been tested using measurements in real buildings and in wind tunnels. The researchers suggest that these simulations can play a vital role in improving the durability and resilience of the built environment.

Sound wave cooling offers an option for long-lasting air conditioning

As the climate warms, frequent heat waves pose a growing threat to human health. But today’s air conditioning units, which emit pollutants and greenhouse gases, are themselves contributors to climate change. Thus, scientists have explored other air conditioning techniques, such as thermoacoustic cooling, or the sound wave cooling process.

During the meeting, Nathan Blanc will describe he and his colleagues’ new design for a thermoacoustic phase-change heat pump. Their analyzes and early experiments suggest that this model could easily outperform other proposed thermoacoustic cooling systems. It will also assess remaining barriers that may prevent the implementation of home thermoacoustic cooling.

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