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Ultrasonic clothes dryers set to shake up the laundry

Ultrasonic clothes dryers set ...
In a step towards commercial availability, ORNL researchers have integrated their ultrasonic drying technology into a clothes dryer drum
In a step towards commercial availability, ORNL researchers have integrated their ultrasonic drying technology into a clothes dryer drum
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In a step towards commercial availability, ORNL researchers have integrated their ultrasonic drying technology into a clothes dryer drum
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In a step towards commercial availability, ORNL researchers have integrated their ultrasonic drying technology into a clothes dryer drum
A press dryer that uses high-frequency vibrations rather than heat to dry clothing
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A press dryer that uses high-frequency vibrations rather than heat to dry clothing
The transducers responsible for producing the ultrasonic vibrations can be seen in the base of the press dryer
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The transducers responsible for producing the ultrasonic vibrations can be seen in the base of the press dryer

Last year, scientists at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) revealed they were working on ultrasonic clothes drying technology in partnership with GE Appliances. At the time, they said they planned to implement the technology in a press dryer and a clothes dryer drum. A new video shows they've been true to their word, bringing the commercial availability of such appliances a step closer.

As reported last year, the new technology relies on high-frequency vibrations to shake the water from fabric by essentially atomizing the moisture so it is released as a fine mist. In this way, it dries fabric faster and using much less energy than simply using heat. The researchers estimate the ultrasonic approach can dry clothes twice as fast as conventional dryers, cutting drying times to about 20 minutes per load, while using 70 percent less energy. The process also results in almost no lint being produced.

A press dryer that uses high-frequency vibrations rather than heat to dry clothing
A press dryer that uses high-frequency vibrations rather than heat to dry clothing

The ultrasonic vibrations are produced by piezoelectric transducers that rapidly contract and expand in response to an electric current. These were previously demonstrated on their own on a desktop, but the researchers have now succeeded in scaling them up and integrating multiple transducers into a full-scale press dryer and clothes dryer drum.

This latest development, and the project's partnership with GE Appliances, bodes well for the technology being available to consumers in the not-too-distant future.

In the meantime, you can check out how your next clothes dryer might work in the video below.

Source: US Department of Energy

Ultrasonic Clothes Dryer Dries Clothes in Half the Time

4 comments
WilliamWatson
Yes I was that kid who put an egg in the microwave to see what happens when they first came out.... So what happens if you accidently leave a pen in the load? Cause that never happens :)
BubbaLennerton
I love this idea and would definitely get one if the price point is nominal. As a firefighter I can't help but think about how many dryer fires this will eliminate. The only downside will be the absence of donning freshly dried warm clothes on a cold winter's day.
fb36
There was also ultrasonic washer development many years ago which was claiming much less detergent use. How about combining them both?
Martin Winlow
I wonder what your pets will think of it!