It’s happened to us all at least once before; you just bought your new favorite shirt, wore it once and threw it in the wash. When you pulled it out of the dryer it somehow shrank so much it may as well be a crop top. Wouldn’t it be great that were just a thing of the past? Well, you may not have to wait as long as you might think.
No Heat, No Problem
Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory together with General Electric Appliances have developed a new dryer that uses vibrations of a high frequency to wick away the moisture from clothes.
The machine utilizes piezoelectric transducers, no bigger than a silver dollar, wired to an amplifier that rapidly expand and contract to separate the water and the fabric.
As a result, it doesn’t use heat like a conventional dryer, producing a cool mist instead of hot air which as we all know leads to the dreaded shrinking shirt problem. The Department of Energy says current dryers are responsible for 1% of America’s total energy consumption, costing roughly $9 billion a year. So a technology that makes drying 70% more efficient and completed in roughly 20 minutes would be a game changer.
A Vision for Change
Scientist Ayyoub Momen of Oak Ridge Labs discovered the idea after he was inspired by ultrasonic humidifiers that use similar vibrations to produce steam. He figured that if it could produce water in that way then the same physics could be applied to drying clothes. “The first results were mind-blowing” he said, “we could dry a piece of fabric in 14 seconds, whereas in an oven it took several minutes”.
This is a massive innovation to a technology that hasn’t changed in decades and is present in 85% of homes across America. Momen estimates that a whole load of laundry would only take 20 minutes to dry, and would be quieter with less lint produced.
As of right now, the technology is still in its infantile stages and has only been tested on small scale fabrics. Oak Ridge Labs is hoping to have a full-size prototype ready in 2016 with the possibility of commercial products through GE being available for sale within the next four years.
So the next time you find that perfect new outfit, hopefully, you won’t need to be afraid of throwing it in the dryer!
This article was written by The Hearty Soul. The Hearty Soul is a rapidly growing community dedicated to helping you discover your most healthy, balanced, and natural life.