A team of scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, has developed a novel method for drying your clothes: using high-frequency sound waves instead of heat.
It was developed in partnership with General Electric, halves the time it takes to dry clothes using conventional heat dryers and requires 70 percent less energy to complete the task.
The dryer features an inner drum lining fitted with tiny sheets capable of converting electric signals into vibrations.
The vibrations occur at such a high frequency that they literally shake the water from out of clothes in the form of a cold mist, which is driven into the drum’s outer part before flowing into a collection tank at the back of the dryer.
The US Department of Energy was also involved in the project and noted that the ultrasonic tumble dryer is able to dry a medium-sized load of wet clothes in about 20 minutes, compared to the 50 minutes it takes most conventional dryers.
The decision to develop an ultrasonic tumble dryer was inspired by the lack of technological advancement in the clothes dryer industry over the past few decades.
Most of clothes dryers purchased today use the same basic technology found in the first models: heated air evaporates water from out of the clothing.
Using ultrasonic technology in tumble dryers could have a massive impact on household energy consumption and could also lead to a drastic reduction in lint.
Indeed, the scientists found that ultrasonic technology generates far less lint than conventional dryers as hot air is responsible for dislodging the majority of the tiny fibres that bundle together to form lint.
Similarly, hot air can cause colours to fade over time and fabric to wear thin.