Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Expendable microphones may help locate building collapse survivors

30.01.2003


Data gathered by Penn State engineers in a volunteer effort at the World Trade Center tragedy, suggests that simple, inexpensive microphones dropped into the rubble of a collapsed building may be able to aid search and rescue teams despite ground level noise.

Dr. Thomas B. Gabrielson, associate professor of acoustics and senior research associate at Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory, says, "In conventional survivor searches, noise generating activities at the surface must be stopped while listening for survivors."

However, the Penn State team found that the noise level in the interior voids of the rubble was about the same as that of a quiet residential neighborhood even though the noise level at the surface was much higher due to constant operation of three heavy lift cranes, air hammers, and dozens of rescuers workers.



"Our results suggest that if expendable microphones were dropped or thrown into the voids in a building collapse, the sounds from trapped survivors would be louder and the surrounding noise quieter so that acoustic search could be continued without interfering with other operations," Gabrielson says.

Since the Penn State team made their measurements, they have developed small wireless microphones in hardened packages that can be thrown into areas too dangerous for people to enter.

The Penn State engineer adds, "Our goal is to provide a small, light, easy- to -use and expendable tool that doesn’t burden the rescuer with bulky, complicated equipment. "

The researchers described their measurements and findings in the current issue (January) of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. The authors are Gabrielson, Matthew Poese, doctoral candidate in acoustics, and Dr. Anthony Atchley, professor of acoustics and head of the Penn State Acoustics Program.

The Penn State team listened to and recorded signals Sept. 18 at the edge of the rubble pile on the northwest corner of the heavily damaged Bankers Trust building.

The researchers write, "These results support the strategy of lowering microphones into collapsed structures in addition to listening for survivor signals from the surface. Placing the microphone in voids in the collapsed structure reduces much of the surface-produced airborne noise."

The Office of Naval Research has provided continuing support for the development of acoustic systems at Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) and the resulting ARL infrastructure made the team’s acoustic survivor search effort possible.

| EurekAlert!

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Quick, Precise, but not Cold
17.05.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht A laser for divers
03.05.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>