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The article "Fighting fire with volts: How water hoses could be replaced with electric wands" gives exciting news about possible new way of extinguishing fire, researched by Ludovico Cademartiri, Ph.D.:

enter image description here

Scientists connected a 600-watt amplifier to a wizard-style wand and used it to shoot beams of electricity at a flame more than a foot high.

The fire was snuffed out almost instantly, an American Chemical Society conference heard on Sunday.

But is it really plausible? How it could affect people and electric installation in a burning building?

  • Please future proof your question by including the essential parts of the question here. Blockquoting the relevant passages will do just fine. – Borror0 Mar 29 '11 at 9:41
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    I added some citations from the article. Hope you don't mind the edit, egle. – David Hedlund Mar 29 '11 at 9:49
  • I couldn't find any related publication by the quoted researched Ludovico Cademartiri, so I assume this is in initial stages of research at best. – Ophir Yoktan Mar 29 '11 at 10:24
  • Regarding the mechanism, I found this (Ludovico is listed), which appears to say that a high EM field is of the same magnitude as gravity, and there seems to be some implication in a google scholar search that high-gravity effects diffusion flames by flattening them. ( absimage.aps.org/image/MWS_DFD10-2010-000484.pdf ) – horatio Apr 26 '11 at 20:49
  • Note that the quoted daily mail article seems to be writing a check it cannot cash. This method does not seem to address spontaneous (re-)ignition in a house fire setting. – horatio Apr 26 '11 at 20:51
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+100

Looks like it's the work of DARPA (so they probably have got it working somehow):

ACS Press release

“Controlling fires is an enormously difficult challenge,” said Cademartiri, who reported on the research. “Our research has shown that by applying large electric fields we can suppress flames very rapidly. We’re very excited about the results of this relatively unexplored area of research.”

Also reported here and in most of the major newspapers and all over the net. I can't find a copy of the paper, I'm guessing that it's maybe not on public distribution yet?

So in summary, yes.

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