Sixth Form Physics and STEM - Sonic Tractor Beam

Highcliffe Sixth floating on air

    Earlier this year, 3 Year 12 students began a task to try and make a sonic tractor beam that had the power to pick up objects or suspend them in mid-air!

    Mr Mitchener, the amazing Physics technician, had found an article showing how the interference of sound waves could produce a low pressure zone strong enough to lift small objects or prevent them from dropping. Never being one for missing an opportunity we discussed this and the kit was ordered.

    The cone created by an ex-student who 3D printed it with the assembly carried out by Mark, Andrew and Matthew.
    The team then had to hand over the software side to our Italian exchange student Nadine.

    The ultrasonic transducers were all mounted inside the cone in the allocated spaces and then wired up to emit sounds we couldn’t hear.
    The concept is that the sounds overlap, the waves interfere with each other and produce areas of low and high pressure which would then cause a tiny object to lift off the floor or be suspended!

    After some trial and error and rewiring, as with all good projects, we struck gold.
    Nadine coded the chip called an Arduino to produce sounds of just the right frequency and volume to enable a polystyrene bead from a bean bag to be held up for a few seconds.
    The accuracy of the placement was critical and managing this again has been difficult but she succeeded!

    Mr Mitchener has now taken on the task of making refinements to try and improve our hovering ability!

    The video below shows our first ever hovering polystyrene bead, a fantastic achievement and thanks to Mr Mitchener, Nadine, Andrew, Matthew and Mark for all they did!


    Owned by: PES | Last Published: 08/06/2018 10:00:31 | Next Update: N/A


Sixth Form Physics and STEM - Sonic Tractor Beam


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