Math in the News
Mathematical Framework Hypothesizes Converting
August 2, 2011
Researchers claim to have developed a mathematical framework for technology that might be able convert road vibrations, airport runway noise, and similar "junk" energy into useful sources of power.
In the paper "Nonlinear Repulsive Force Between Two Solids with Axial Symmetry" (Physical Review E, June 20, 2011), Surajit Sen (SUNY-Buffalo), Diankang Sun (New Mexico Resonance), and Chiara Daraio (California Institute of Technology) describe how altering the shape of grain-to-grain contact areas between particles changes the way energy propagates through a system. Such tweaking might make it possible to slow down the movement of energy and to vary the space across which it moves.
"What we have managed to accomplish is we have broadened Hertz's theory with some extremely simple modifications," Sen said. "If I hit one end of the chain of particles, the perturbation will travel as an energy bundle. Now we can tune and control that energy." This modification to Heinrich Hertz's theory comes 130 years after Hertz's work was published.
Although this finding has not been carried out experimentally, Sen indicated that, "mathematically, it's correct. We have proven it."
"You give me noise," Sen said, "I give you organized bundles."